Skip to main content

Full text of "The Arts and Crafts of India & Ceylon"

See other formats


THE ARTS AND CRAFTS OF 
INDIA Is 5 CEYLON 


V 1. A V 




uniform volumes 


THE ARTS &* CRAFTS OF 
ANCIENT EGYPT . 

By Professor W. M. FLINDERS PETRIE 

THE ARTS CRAFTS OF OLD JAPAN 

By STEWART DICK 

THE ARTS Sr* CRAFTS OF OUR 
TEUTONIC FOREFATHERS 

By Professor G. BALDWIN BROWN 



■""*«»« -„.u 0 u .„„ 



-ARTS &> CRAFTS OF 
INDIA &> CEYLON 

ANANDA K. COOMARASWAMY 



TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS 



T. N. FOULIS 

LONDON <y EDINBURGH 




Published 
October , 1913 




PREFACE 

The purpose of this book, like that of Professor 
Flinders Petrie in the same series, is to facilitate the 
understanding of the art it illustrates. It is intended 
for ordinary persons rather than for archceological 
specialists. The pages are not burdened with refer¬ 
ences; but no statement has been made without care¬ 
ful consideration or specific authority. The value of 
a small book must depend on its suggestiveness ra¬ 
ther than on its completeness: but it must not be for¬ 
gotten that what is here said is but a mere summary 
of a vast subject: each sentence could be expanded 
to a chapter, each chapter to a monograph. If the 
firstchaptershouldappearlongin proportion to those 
which describe the actual works, which are after all 
best described in the’illustrations, it is because in 
order to account for„Indian, just as for Gothic, “ we 
have to account forfiWnistoricbasis andforthewhole 
atmosphere of mysticism, chivalry, and work enthus¬ 
iasm, with fill the institutions, romantic and social, 
which formed its environment” (Professor Lethaby, 
Mediceval Art). 

The scope of the book is indicated in its title. 
Ceylon,from thestandpointof ethnologyandculture, 
is an integral part of India. I have passed beyond 
the Indian boundary only to include the sculpture of 
Java and Cambodia, the most important of the Ind- 



PREFACE 

ian colonies: I have not discussed either the archi¬ 
tecture or the minor crafts of these countries, nor of 
Cambodia, Siam, or Burma, although Burma is now 
politically united to India. On the other hand, since 
the Himalayas are the natural boundary, the art of 
Nepal, whence come so many fine works often de¬ 
scribed as Tibetan, is rightly called Indian. 

That the work is divided into two parts, the first 
concerned with Hindu and Buddhist art, the latter 
with the Musulman arts, is solely to facilitate an un¬ 
derstanding of their historical relations and psycho¬ 
logical development: 1 do not forget that in almost 
every art and craft, as also in music, there exists in 
Hindustan a complete and friendly fusion of the two 
cultures. The non-sectarian character of the styles 
of Indian art has indeed always been conspicuous; 
so that it is often only by special details that one can 
distinguish Jain from BuddhisU/«/#.r, Buddhist from 
Hindu sculpture, or the Hindu from the Musulman 
minor crafts. The one great distinction of Mughal 
from Hindu art is not so much racial as social; the 
former is an art of courts and connoisseurs, owing 
much to individual patronage, the latter belongs as 
much to the folk as to the kings. 

It is indeed a most striking feature of Hindu and 
Buddhist civilisation that it produced not merely a 



r ,, ; PREFACE 

great learning somewhat jealously guarded by pan¬ 
dits, butalsoa religious and aesthetic culture in which 
all classes shared. “ Their ordinary Plowmen and 
Husbandmen'' says Robert Knox, “do speak eleg¬ 
antly and are full of complement. And there is no 
difference between the ability and speech of a Coun¬ 
tryman and a Courtier." Such is the natural fruit of 
feudal and theocratic cultures; a division into classes 
without tastes or interests in common is character¬ 
istic only of a large democracy. 

The Hindus have never believed in art for art's 
sake; their art, like that of mediaeval Europe, was 
an art for love’s sake. They made no distinctions of 
sacred and profane. I am glad to think that they 
have never consciously sought for beauty; just as 
none of their social institutions were intendedtopro- 
mote the greatest happiness of the greatest number. 

, For great art results from the impulse to express 
.certain clear intuitions of life and death, rather than 
! from the conscious wish to make beautiful pictures 
: or songs. The absence of beauty from art, or happi¬ 
ness from life; is an unanswerable condemnation of 
any civilisation in which theyare lacking: yet neither 
beauty nor happiness is easily attainable if sought 
for as a primary end. Very often, as in India, they 
appear like angels unawares, just where the seeming 



PREFACE 

rigidity of hieratic laws wouldappear to deny all per¬ 
sonal freedom. We are forced to think that freedom 
lias other than democratic meanings,and thatart has 
little to do with personal self-expression. 

Professor Lethaby has lately written that “ If we 
(in Europe) would set seriously to work in reviving 
decorative design, the best thing we could do would 
be to bring a hundred craftsmen from India to form 
a school of decorative design.” But it is well to re¬ 
member, that if this is still true, it will not be true 
for long; for nearly every force at work and every 
tendency apparent in modern India is consciously 
or unconsciously directed towards the destruction of 
all skilful handicraft. Neither Nationalist nor Im¬ 
perialist educators are concerned with that all-im¬ 
portant part of education described by Ruskin as the 
cherishing of local associations, and hereditary skill. 
I could wish to persuade these teachers that educa¬ 
tion appears as much in doing as in knowing things 
—that craftsmanship is a mode of thought, for 
All these trust to their hands: 

And everyone is wise in his work. 

I am indebted to many friends for photographs, 
above all to M. Victor Goloubew (Nos. i, 33, 37,52, 
60, and 63); also to the Director of the Victoria and 
Albert Museum, South Kensington (Nos. 119, 139, 




156) I79» 180, 181, 182, 185, 188, 189, most of them 
taken expressly for this work), to Messrs Skeen & 
Co., Ceylon (Nos. 2, 13, 25, 26, 31, 34, 84, 85), to 
Mr E. B. Havell (Nos. 35, 36, 38), to Mr H. Park¬ 
er (Nos. 16 and 45), to Mr W. Rothenstein (Nos. 
93, 96), to Mr Justice Holmwood (No. 106), to Pro¬ 
fessor Tagore (No. 107), to Mr J. H. Marshall 
(No. 51), to Mr Vincent Smith (No. 17), to Messrs 
Johnston and Hoffman (Nos. 162, 163, 44), to the 
Director of the Colombo Museum (No. 6), and the 
Curator of the Lahore Museum (No. 143). The fol¬ 
lowing are from negatives belonging to the India 
Office: Nos. 22, 23, 30, 32, 39, 79, 80-82, 87, 91, 
142, 158-160, 164. The great majority of the re¬ 
maining photographs have been taken by or express¬ 
ly for myself. I am also grateful to many friends 
who have allowed me to photograph objects in their 
possession (see List of Illustrations). Three blocks 
are reproduced from Fergusson’s Indian and East¬ 
ern Architecture by permission of Mr John Murray. 
I am indebted to Mr S. Hadaway, of the Madras 
School of Art, for the elephant on p. 200. For per¬ 
mission to reproduce Miss Larcher’s two Ajanta 
tracings(Nos.6i,62)I have to thank the committee 
of the India Society. 

ANANDA K. COOMARASWAMY. 



CONTENTS 


preface . page 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.xiii 

PART ONE 

HINDU AND BUDDHIST ART 

I. CHARACTER AND HISTORY.S 

II. SCULPTURE.47 

III. PAINTING.81 

IV. ARCHITECTURE.I05 

V. METAL WORK, ENAMELS, AND JEWELLERY . . 137 

VI. WOODWORK.163 

VII. IVORY.175 

VIII. STONE, EARTHENWARE, GESSO, LAC . . 18 5 

IX. TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, COSTUME, ETC. . 193 


PART TWO 

MUGHAL ART 


X. ARCHITECTURE.215 

XI. PAINTING, CALLIGRAPHY . 227 

XII. THE MINOR MUGHAL ARTS . 241 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 







LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Size. Age. Material. Source. 

Jaipur 


Frontispiece: Head of 2 ft. XVIII Paper C£ 

Krishna dancing. toon. 

1 Nataraja. Abt. 4 ft. X-XII Copper. 

2 Buddha. Colossal. V-VI Dolomit 

3 HandofBuddha. ... VI Bronze. 


Author. 
Madras Mus. 


4 „ Tara. 

5 „ Buddha 

or Bodhisattva. 

6 Foot of Nataraja. 

7 „ Nataraja 

(fig. i). 

8 Footof Nataraja 

“ Deer”) 

10 “ Lifting Mt. 
Govardhan.” 

12 “Abed.” 


15 Weavers. 

16 Seal (impres¬ 

sion). 

17 Capital of Asoka 


19a Dryad 

20 Buddha teach- 36 in. 

ing. 

21 A Bodhisattva. 38 in. 

22 Elevation of the 

Bowl Relic. 

23 A stupa. 

24 Buddha. 


XV-XVIII Bras 
XII-XV Cop 
IX-X 


Buddha- 

vani. 

Nepal. 


Anuradha- Colombo 
S. Indian. Madras Mus. 


H. Parker. 
Sarnath. 

, Arch. Surv., 


Sandston 

Schist. 


Under the heading of “ Age,” a.d. is to be understood unless otherwise stated. The 
dimensions given represent height unless otherwise stated. 





LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


32 Vishnu. 

33 Vishnu (from 

Trimurti). 

34 Saint reading. 
34 a Durga Mahisha- 


36 Ganesha. 

37 Dancer. 


38 Buddha or Bod- 

hisattva. 

39 Woman. 

40 Ushnisha-Vijaya. 

41 Seated figure, 

Kshatriya type. 

42 Seated figure, 

Brahman type. 

43 Woman. 


44 Women. 

45 Pattini and naga 

king. 

46 Led horse. 

47 ManikkaVaijagar.2ijir 


vrn 


Granulite. 


Dolomite. 

Bronze. 



Rock-cut. 


VIII-X Stone. 


X- XII 

XI- XII 
X-XII 


XIII 


XI-XIV Wood. 

XIII Sandstone. 
XI-XIII Copper. 


48 Sundara Murti 25m. ,, ,, 

49 Hanuman. 21 in. X-XIII ,, 

50 Shiva. Abt.3ft. ,, ,, 

51 Krishnaraya of ... Early XVI Brass. 

Vijavanagar 
(A.D. 1510-29) 
and queens. 


Sourer.. Pedtrca. 

Amsrudhapnrci, Ceylon. 


Ceylon. Author. 

Elura. ” 
Anuradhapuro. 


Java. Leiden. 

Bor5bodur, 

Java. 

Java. 

Borobodar, 

Cambodia. Trocadero, 
Paris. 

Gwaliar. 

Sarnath. 


Bhuvan- Ponten- 
eshvara. Mdller. 
Konarak. 
Nikawewa, 
Ceylon. 
Konarak. 

I’olonna- Colombo 


Ceylon. Indian Mus. 
Tanjore. 
Tirumalai, 
Tirnpati, 

N. Arcot. 


60 


63 

68 

70 
69 

71 


74 


75 


76 


7 6 


xiv 




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


Fig. Subject. 

. 52 Nataraja (detail 
of fig. 1). 

53 Tantric Buddhist 


X-XII Copper. 
? XVI Brass. 


S. India. Madias Mus. 
Nepal. G. Chowne. 


Shakti). ’ 

54 Bodhisattva (?) 

55 Trampled dwarf 

with attributes 
of Shiva 
(detail of fig. 


CalcuttaSch. 84 


?XVII Brass. 


59 Hanuman 

60 Bodhisattva. 

61 Head of a girl 

(tracing). 

62 Girl seated (trac¬ 

ing). 

63 Elephant (Bod¬ 

hisattva). 

64 Princess with 

65 Buddhaquells 1 

the mad ele- : 
phant (Aira- 
vatl). 


67 Episodes from 

Vessantara-Jd- 
taka (copied). 

68 Pichcha-mali. jes- in 

samine) decor- 

69 DeathofBhishma. 2|in 


V Rock pocket at Sigiri, 

Ceylon. 

XIV-XV Palm-leaf Nepal. I.Schwaig 
MS. 


,, Wooden 

coverofMS. 

XVIII Tempera on Degaldoruwa vihara, nea 
plaster. Kandy, Ceylon. 




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Subject. S \ze. Age. Material. Soarco. 

0 Kaliya damana. 7 in. XVIII Painting on Rajpot 

paper (Pa&ati) 
(ICSngra). 

Paper car- Raj pat 


Position. Page. 


71 Head of a girl 13^ ir 

singing. 

72 Krishna danc- 

73 Portrait of a 4 in. 

74 Chorus for 3| in. 

Krishna 
dancing. 

75 Rama, Sita, and 8 in. 

76 Shivaand Parvati. i‘{ in. XVIII Unfinished 


(Jaipur). 


XVIII-XIX 

XVIII 


Unfinished 
painting 
on paper. 


on paper. 
Painting on 
paper. 


81 Rock-cut pillars. . 

82 Excavated temple. 

83 Monolithic tem¬ 

ple (photo by 
Frith). 

84 Bathing pool 

(pokuna). 

85 Steps and 

“moonstone.” 

86 Aryavarta temple. 

87 Excavatedtemple. 


Early XIX 

XVIII 

II B.C. 

Abt. 150B.C. 

IX-XI 
Late VIII 

Late VII. Sandstone. 
V-VIII Granulite. 


Sandstone 

Basalt. 


(ICangra). 

(Pah&n) 

(Punch) 

( Pahdrt) 

(Kangra). 

^ahari) 

(Gahrwal). 

Rajput CalcuttaSch. 
(Jaipur) of Art. 
Stupa at Sanchl. 
Excavated chaitya at 
Nasik. 

Indra Sabha cave at 
Elura. 

Island of Elephanta, 
near Bombay. 


XVII Stone and 


Ruins of a pansala, 
Anuradhapura. 

. Near main road Bhu- 

Kailasa temple at Elura. 
Subrahmaniya temple, 
Tanjore. 

Great temple, Madura. 


xvi 






^ LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

-Pig. Subject. Size. Age. Material. Source. Position. Page. 

90 Comer of man- ... XVI Stone. Auvadaiyar Kovil, Tan- 116 
" daprntt. jore dist. 

W 9I Man Singh’s .. Late XV „ ... Gwaliar. 125 

palaceandfort. 

92 Fort and palace. ... XVI-XIX ,, ... Jodhpur. ,, 

93 Bhonsla idri ... XIX Sandstone. “Ghosla” ghat, Benares. ,, 

(palace and 
hostel). 

94 Jharokha win- ... XVIII-XIX ,, House near Jodhpur. 

95 Interio'r verandah. ... XVIII Wood. House at Tanjore. 128 

96 ,, ,, .. ,, ,, “ Babu Chjtty’s house ” ,, 

at Tanjore. 

. 97 Exterior veran- ... ,, ,, House at Ramesvaram. ,, 

dah. 

98 Interior verandah. ... ,, ,, Goldsmith’s house at ,, 

Jaffna. 

99 Elephant goad. ... XVII-XVIII Carved steel. S. India. Maharaja of 130 

* Ettaya- 

puram. 

100 Architect’s plum- 6|in. VI Bronzecoat- River Sur- British Mus. ,, 

met. ing iron. ma, E 

Bengal. 

101 Lotus enclosing ... ?XIV Bronze. Nepal. ImperialMus., ,, 

• imageofVajra- Calcutta. 

Tara. 

102 Vihdra lamp. 11 in. XVIII Silver. Kandy. DaladaMali- „ 

gawa, 

103 Gargoyle. ... XVII-XVIII Brass. Nepal. Prof. Tagore. 132 

104 Lamps. ... XVII-XIX Brass. Nepal. Sir E. L. 

Durand. 

105 Vessel with lid. 4-J in. XVII Bidri. Bidar. Author. ,, 

' 106 Fish. ... XIX „ Orissa. Mr Justice 

Holmwood. 

107 Horse. ... XVIII-XIX „ Rajputana. Prof. Tagore. „ 

' 108 Betel tray. Diam. XVIII Gold and Sinhalese. Temple of 141 

I3t in. gems. tooth. Kandy. 

‘ 109 Huka cover. Diam. XVII-XVIII Silver on Purniah, Author. 

3i in - copper. Bengal, 

no Lime-box. ... XVIII „ Sinhalese. ? 

ill Lamp. ... ?XVI Brass. Orissa. E. R. Lind- ,, 

■ II2 Water-vessel ... XIX „ Tanjore. ? 




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


Age. M atari 

XIX Bronze. 

XVIII Silver o 
. XVIII-XIX Brass! 1 ” 
? XVI Bronze. 


XVIII-XIX Silt 

XVII 
?XVII 

XVIII 


Brass. 


„ Gold, flat 

diamond, 
and rubies. 

,, Gold.enam- Ja 

el.andflat 
diamond. 

XVIII-XIX Gold, enam 


Searco. PeStSon. 1 
Oude or Aothor. 

Bihar. 

Sinhalese. Colombo 
Mus. 

Bihar or Author. 
Bengal. 

Nepal or ,, 

Bengal. 

Amritsar. ,, 

S. India. F. O.Oertel. 
Tanjote. Indian Mus. 
Jaffna. Author. 

Jaffna. 

S. India. ,, 


XVIII 

XIX 


Kandy. 

Ceylon. 


129 Pendant {Kuv- About XVIII 

ulla-padak- 54 in. 

kama). 

130 Knife. 

131 Areca-nut slicer 8] in. ,, 


Nayagarh, 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


4 Door-gaairdian 

(dvim-a-pala). 

5 Door lintel. 


6 Jin. XVII h 

n*in. XVI-XVII 


Colombo 

Mus. 

Author. 


8 Part of a car. 

9 Panel. 

o Chank trumpet Length 


XVIII Ivory and Ridi Vihara, in Ceylon, 
ebony. 

Before XVIII Ivory. Travancore. India Mus. I 
. XVII-XVHI Ivory Palace, Tanjore. 

applique. 


Kandyan. India Mus. 


1 Carved ship. 

2 Balcony and 

windows. 

3 Entrance to a 

house. 

4 Head-pieceofbed Length 

(isa kadaya). 30 in. 

5 Window. 

7 Water-pot (ka- 
lasha). 

.8 Eaves-tile. 

9 Embroidered 
;o Embroidered 


XVIII-XIX Earthen- 


Kandyan. Kandy Mus. 186 

Malabar. Capt. Welch. „ 
Palace, Tanjore. 
Kandyan. Kandy Mus. ,, 

,, Author. ,, 

Chamba. Lahore Mus. 197 


XX Cotton on 

sari (chikan muslin. , 

1 Phulkiik( detail). Each XVIII-XIX Silk on 

3} in. 

2 Embroidered if in. XVIII Silk on 

shield-cushion cotton, 

(detail). 

3 Part of brocaded Width ,, Cotton. 

belt (paiiya). 8J in. 






LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



156 Palampore. 


157 Detail of era- 

broideredskirt. 

158 Mosque. 

159 Kutb Minar. 

160 Tomb of Sheikh 

Salim Chishti. 

161 Mosque. 


162 Gol Gumbaz 

(tomb). 

163 Buland Darwaza 

(“High Gate”). 

164 Itimad u-d-Dau- 

lah’s tomb. 

165 Akbaris Hall 


Frith). 

166 Babur Shah lay¬ 

ing outagarden. 

167 Man slaying a 


Shah, King of 
Bengal (acre. 
1532 a.d.), his 
secretary, and 
another. 

169 “Dying man." 

170 Gosain Chidriip 

Yogi, by Dhan 
Sah. 


17 1 Conversation 


with a buffalo. 
172 Jahangir. 


173 H. 


akim Masih uz- 
Zaman, by Mir 
Hashim. 


Age. Material. Source. Position. Page. 

XX Goldthread Tarsi ore. 204 

and silk. 

XVIII Dye-painted Mosul!- Indian Mus. 
cotton. patam. 

XVIII-X1X Silk on Sind. Author. 


XIII Sandstone. 

XIV 

XVI Marble. 

XVII Sandstone 

and marble. 

XVI Sandstone. 

,, Sandstone 

and marble. 

XVII Inlaid 

marble. 
XVI Sandstone. 



Fathpar-Sikri. ,, 

Delhi. 

Bijapur. 219 

Fathpur-Sikrl. ,, 

Agra. 

Fathpur-Sikri. „ 


Late XVI 2 pp. of Early Indian Mus. 22S 

a MS. Mughal. 

„ Painting Early Indian Mus. ,, 
on cloth. Mughal. 

Mid. XVI Painting Early British Mus. „ 

on paper. Mughal 
(school of 
Bihzad). 


British Mus. 
Author. 
British Mus. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


Eig. • Subject. 

174 Elephant's head 
' (detail from a 
darbar). 

t7S Ganj ‘ Ali Khan 
and others, 
surrender of 


About 1625 Brush Mughal 

drawing 
on paper. 

About 1640 Painting on „ 
paper. 


Qandahar 

(detail). 

176 Landscape ... Mid. XVII 

(detail). 

177 Bhils hunting ... „ 

deer at night. 

178 Three ladies on ... „ 


Maharaja of 
Benares. 
Bodleian. 


233 


z4 in., XVII. Crystal. 

3iin- 


180 Ihtka bowl. 7 j in. 


181 „ 

!b2 Turban orna¬ 
ment (sarpech). 
183 Tinned copper 


7t in- 
7Hi". 
Plate 
ni in. 


XVIII-XIX Copper in- Kas 


Indian Mus. 236 


Author. 243 


184 Finger-ring. 


XVII-XVIII Sil 


Mughal. 


185 [fuka bowl. 


XVIII-XIX Brass in- Nurpur, India 
cised and Panjab. 
inlaid with 
black lac. 

ca. 1700 „ Kashmir. 

XVII Bidri inlaid Lucknow. > 


Mus. 


188 Huka bowl. 

189 Wall tile. 


XVIII Silver ,, Rai Kishenji. 

enamel. 

XVII Enamelled Lahore. Indian Mus. 

earthen- 


xxi 




LIST 

OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Fig. 

Subjrrt Si/e, 

A Material. 

Santee. Position. PaG^- 

190 

Embroidered Width XVIII Wool. 

Kashmir. Author. 251 

■9. 

Part of a woven 

XVIII-XIX „ 


Brocade ( kimkh - 

wab). 

XIX Silk^gold, 

Benares. „ ,, 

192 

193 




195 

Part of a woven 

;; Woo.;’ 

Kashmir. ,, ,, 



PART ONE 

HINDU &> BUDDHIST ART 



(BLANK PAGE-NO CONTENTS) 



CHAPTER ONE 

INDIAN CHARACTER & HISTORY 


/ 



AR1TS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
BY ANANDA K. COOMARASWAMY 
CHAPTER THE FIRST 

INDIAN CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

THE OLDEST INHABITANTS OF INDIA 
are known to us by their stone and copper imple¬ 
ments and pottery; they survive;in the wild hill and 
foresttribes of many parts of India, and form quanti- 
tively the most important factor in the origin of all 
thosewhoare known now as Indians. Of the mainly 
non-Aryan Indians, the most important modern re¬ 
presentatives are the Dravidians, especially the Ta¬ 
mils and Sinhalese, who already possessed a highly 
developed civilisation when the first Aryan teach¬ 
ers reached them, some centuries b.c. The origin of 
these Dravidians is not certainly known. Their lang¬ 
uage type is as distinct from that of the primitive 
tribes as it is from that of the Aryans: hence they 
may perhapsbe considered as representatives of pre¬ 
historic immigrants rather than strictly aboriginal. 

The origin of the Indian Aryans is also greatly 
disputed. All that it is necessary to know for our 
present purposes is that in early times the Indo- 
Aryans who heard the Vedas were settled in the 
Panjab, the Land of Five Rivers. Their religious 
poems, the Vedas, are the oldest Indian scriptures, 
S 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA CEYLON 

consisting of hymns, spells, and ritual ordinances, 
with traces of advanced philosophical speculation 
in the later works. The earliest hymns are probably 
older than 1500B.C. The essential characterof Vedic 
religion is the worship of the personified powers of 
nature, eg. Surya (Sun), Varuna(Sky), Indra(Rain), 
Ushas (Dawn), and the more anthropomorphic con- 
ceptionof Yama(Death). A little later there appears 
a tendency to regard these names as representing 
the various manifestations of one Spirit, Atman or 
Brahma (neuter), variously personified as Prajapati 
(Lord of Creatures), Vishvakarma (All-fashioner), 
Purusha (Male), Hiranyagarbha (Golden Womb), 
and finally as Brahma (m.). 

By the time the Aryans had advanced further, 
and were permanently settled in the Middle Land 
of the Upper Ganges valley, there grew out of the 
Vedas the later religion of Brahmanism, on the one 
side elaborately ritualistic, on the other profoundly 
philosophical. The scriptures of this period (800 to 
300 B.c.) are the Brahmanas (ritual) and the Upani- 
jteft(philosophy),formingthe last part of the Vedas. 
The Brahmanas are the service-books of the pro¬ 
fessional and hereditary priests, the Brahmans. Great 
stress is laid on the importance of sacrifices and the 
use of magic formulas, known as mantras. These 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
works are of much significance in the history of the 
arts: for the exact prescription of altarmeasurements 
may be regarded as the beginning of the Shilpa- 
skdstras, the ritual demanded the manufacture of 
lamps and sacrificial vessels, and the mantras , sub¬ 
sequently regarded as independent centres of con¬ 
sciousness, developed into personal divinities with 
images and ritual service of their own. The Upani- 
shads , with the later interpretations, constitute the 
Vedanta( Veda’send), the monisticphilosophy which 
forms the background to all later Indian mytholo¬ 
gies and interpretations of life. Two very import¬ 
ant doctrines were generally accepted before the 
time of Buddha: karma (deeds), that every action 
bears inevitable fruit in this life or another, and 
samsara (wandering), that individual souls pass from 
body to body in an everlasting wheel of experience. 
The Vedanta also maintains the illusory character 
of the phenomenal world, either as wholly unreal 
(maya), or at least as necessarily misapprehended 
by finite beings, from whom all absolute truth is 
concealed by plural perception or ignorance (avidya). 
Salvation is liberation from this wheel of rebirth, 
and bondage of ignorance. 

Side by side with this idealism grew up the his¬ 
torically only a little less important system of the 
7 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
Samkhya, which postulates an eternal dualism of 
soul [Puruska) and matter ( Prakriti ), without any 
deity. The founder of this system was Kapila, who 
if a historical person at all, certainly belongs to the 
ante-Buddhistperiod. An importantelementinSam- 
khyan thought is the theory of the three gunas, or 
conditions of matter, respectively sattva (light, clear, 
intellectual), rajas (active, strenuous,emotional),and 
tamas (dark, gloomy, inert). 

All the elaborate fabric of modern Hinduism is 
built up on these materials. Its development as a 
social and theological system continued throughout 
the Buddhistperiod,and up to the 1 2 th century a. n., 
and in some aspects up to the present days of con¬ 
flict between orthodoxy and modernism. The prin¬ 
cipal landmarks in this development are the Yoga 
system of Patanjali (ca. 200 b.c.); the epics (Maha- 
bharata and Ramayana, old sagas handled by Brah¬ 
man poets some centuries b.c. with various additions, 
including the Bhagavad Gita, up to 300-400 a.d.) ; 
the Laws of Manu (establishing the theoretical 
basis of the caste system); composition of the Pur- 
anas (mythologies, etc.); the decline and absorption 
of Buddhism (complete in most parts of India by the 
8th century); the development of the southern the¬ 
ology of Shiva (4th to 10th century A.D.); and the 
8 



CHARACTER AND HISTOR^™^- 

rise of the northern cult of Krishna (2nd to 12th 
century a.d.). Each of these movements is of su- - 
prOme importance for the history of art. 

There are many phases of later Hindu thought, 
important for the student of art. The term shvara 
(Overlord) designates a supreme personal God, be¬ 
yond whom is none but the impersonal and un¬ 
knowable Brahma or Atman. Ishvara is worship¬ 
ped in three aspects, as Brahma (creator), Vishnu 
(sustainer), and Shiva (destroyer), sometimes united 
in one triple imag &{Trimurti\ Theworshipof Brah¬ 
ma ceased at an early period; there remain two great 
Hindu groups or sects, theV ai'shnava and the Shaiva. 
Each of the.se regard their own deity as Ishvara : 
yet, on the other hand, Vishnu and Shiva are often 
identified. Each of these has a feminine counterpart, 
or Shakti (Energy); creation and manifestation are 
effected by the interaction of these male and female 
principles of the cosmos. Vishnu has Lakshml: Shiva, 
Parvatl. The personality of each of these is manifold, 
each form having a different name. In particular, 
there are sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic forms, which 
may even be represented together in a single work 
of art. Some of these forms are those of non-Aryan 
deities absorbed into the Brahman theology. 

Other important sects are those of the Shaktas 
9 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

(who worship Shakti, the female cosmic principle), 
the Sauras (who worship the Sun), the Ganapatyas 
(whoworshipGanesha),and the Sikhs(whocombine 
the ideas of Islam with Hindu thought, and do not 
worship images). 

Vaishnava theology is distinguished by its doc¬ 
trine of avataras, or incarnations. The ten avatars 
of Vishnu are the ten forms assumed by him, for the 
establishment of righteousness when need arises. 
These incarnations are respectively, the Fish, Tor¬ 
toise, Boar, Man-lion, Dwarf, Parashu-Rama, Rama, 
Krishna,Buddha,andKalki(whoisyettocome). The 
legends associated with all of these, but especially 
those of Rama and Krishna, are frequently illus¬ 
trated. Vishnu as Ishvara is named Narayana, and 
represented as reclining upon the serpent Shesha- 
naga, who rests on the cosmic ocean : Brahma is 
then born from a lotus that springs from Narayana’s 
navel. The aspects of Vishnu are gracious and hu¬ 
manistic. 

Shiva, though infinitely graciousincertain aspects, 
is amore terrible and inaccessible God than Vishnu. 
He is manifested in various forms, but does not 
assume a human incarnation. He is conceived best 
as the] Dancer, whose dance is Evolution, Continu¬ 
ance, and Involution : also as the Great Yogi, chief 



' CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

of ascetics,absorbed in contemplation, orwandering 
through the Himalayan forests with Parvatl and the 
bull Nandi. Shiva and Parvatl have two sons, Gan- 
esha and Karttikeya, gods of wisdom and war re¬ 
spectively. Shiva is very frequently worshipped in 
the form of the lingam , a symbol partly of phallic 
origin, partly derived from the Buddhist stupa , and 
generally associated with the yoni, or symbol of 
Shakti. 

Vishnu and Shiva are Dionysic and trulyspiritua. 
powers, worshipped by those who seek salvation. Be¬ 
side these, the Hinduism of the Puranas also recog¬ 
nises a group of Olympians, the devas, who are wor¬ 
shipped, if at all, for material benefits. These dwell in 
paradise ( svarga ): the chief of them are Indra (king 
of the gods), Varuna (Ocean), Agni (Fire), Surya 
(Sun), Chandra (Moon) and Yama (Death). The 
last presides over Hell. Kamadeva (Desire), is the 
god of love. Vishvakarma is no longer Brahma, but a 
god or genius of the arts and crafts. Various sages 
(riskis) are associated with the devas as their priests. 
There are also in heaven other orders of beings, as 
apsaras (dancers), gandharvas (musicians), and kin- 
naras (bird-men and horse-men): and creatureswho 
are “vehicles” of the gods,as Vishnu’s Garuda, Par- 
vatl’s Tiger, Ganesha’s Rat, and Indra’s Elephant. 



ARTS © CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
Vishnu and Shiva are worshipped by the Olympians, 
as by men, and also by devils. Set over against the 
devas are the devils, variously called daily as, asuras, 
or rakskasas, with whom the gods are frequently at 
war. Nagas, or half-human serpents, dwell in the 
waters and underworlds. 

None of these beings are eternal, butall, with men, 
animals, and the whole animate and “inanimate” 
creation, are part of the samsara, the ocean of life 
subject to change. It is in Vishnu or Shiva that all 
these move and have their being. The demerit and 
merit of human beings are rewarded successively in 
Heaven and Hell in the intervals between births on 
earth. The great contrast between this exoteric sys¬ 
tem and the ultimate ideal of Hindu thought is well 
expressed in the saying, that “ he who seeks eman¬ 
cipation should fear Heaven no less than Hell.” 
But all forms of Indian thought unite in regarding 
ahamkara, the sense of egoity or separateness from 
other living things, as the greatest of all delusions 
and the source of infinite sufferings. 

So far we have postponed the consideration of 
Buddhism, on the ground that the Buddhist heresy, 
however important, did not even temporarily inter¬ 
fere with the development of distinctively Hindu 
modes of thought. The probable dates of Buddha’s 
12 



fElVAWD&Uft 


CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
/life are 563 to 483 b.c., the date of his death forming 
the first quite definite landmark in Indian history. 
Prince Siddhartha, afterwards Buddha (“the En¬ 
lightened ”) grew up in the Brahmanical tradition: 
he was impressed in early manhood with the prob¬ 
lem of suffering: and leaving his royal estate, and 
independently of the priests, he sought a way of 
escape from the samsara. As regards doctrine, he 
took for granted such theories as those of karma, 
and rebirth: he did not deny, but ignored the Olym¬ 
pians of the Brahmans: he refused to discuss the 
origins of life, or to speak of things after death: he 
denied the theory of 'One. Atman,2S\& laid great stress 
on tjie conception of life as perpetual change : he 
denied equally the efficacy of sacrifices, exaggerated 
asceticism, or prayer, maintaining that the true Path 
was that of personal morality and intellectual pro¬ 
gress. Reestablished an order of begging monks, 
who have maintained an honourable tradition to the 
present day in Ceylon and Burma: if he repudiat¬ 
ed all unreasonable mortifications, none the less 
he sought to withdraw from the world as many as 
possible of the wisest and best of men, to lead a life 
of very considerable restraint. He could not help 
but look upon women and all the arts (as music and 
dancing, etc.) as snares from which men should en- 

13 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

deavour to escape. He made the sole end of life, sal¬ 
vation ( nirvana ): a viewcontrastingwith the Hindu 
conception of the four ends of life, viz. the practice of 
morality ( dharma ), the acquiring of wealth (artka), 
the satisfaction of desires (kama), and progress to¬ 
wards emancipation ( moksha ). There is therefore 
some justification for speaking of Buddha’s sys¬ 
tem as puritanical. His influence on all later Hindu 
thought is due largely to the power of his own mag¬ 
netic and gracious personality, and to the essential 
value and moderation, rather than to the originality, 
of his teaching. But Buddhism became, and must 
have become, something more than the philosophy 
of Buddha, before it could inspire a great religious 
art such as that of Ajanta or Borobodur. 

Early Buddhism (Hmayana, the “ Lesser Ve¬ 
hicle”) was soon modified by the mythologising ten¬ 
dency of Indian thought, from the 2nd century b.c. 
onwardsevolving an elaborate theology {Mahayana, 
the “Great Vehicle”), closely corresponding to that 
of the Hindus. The chief god-types are the Sav¬ 
iours or Future Buddhas ( Bodhisattvas ) and their 
Shaktis or female Energies. There are likewise im¬ 
agined Dhyani (rapt) Buddhas, of whom the earthly 
Buddhas are but a mirage or projection—a doctrine 
similar to that of the avatars. Ultimately these ex- 

14 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
hibit placid, stern, and fierce forms like those of the 
Hindu deities. By the 8th century a.d. Mahayana 
Buddhism had partly fused with and partly been 
replaced by H indu theologies in most parts of I ndia: 
but it survived in Bengal and Orissa until the 13th 
century or later, and in its most mystic, Tantric 
form, up to the present day in Nepal, and in ortho¬ 
dox forms, in Ceylon. 

Early Buddhism was carried to Ceylon in the time 
of Asoka (2nd century b.c.) and has remained to this 
day the religion of the Sinhalese. During the first 
six centuries a.d. it was taken, in the Brahmanised 
Mahayana form, to China, where a great Buddhist 
art developed on Indian lines; in the 8th century it 
went with Indian colonists to Java, where are to be 
seen some of the finest works of Buddhist art in ex¬ 
istence. Somewhat later, Buddhist and Hindu art 
and thought were equally firmly established in Bur¬ 
ma, Siam, and Cambodia. 

TheMusulman raids began at the close of the 10th 
century : the Mughal power was only firmly estab¬ 
lished in the time of Babur (16th century). Islam 
contrasts with Hinduism,as aclear-cut monotheism, 
strongly opposed to all kinds of image worship, and 
even to the representation of living objects in works 
of art. In one aspect, Islam is fanatical and puri- 
i5 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

tanical, and thus destructiveof Hindu culturewhere- 
ever possible: in another (Sufiism), it closely ap¬ 
proaches, and even fuses with, Hindu thought. 

The Parsls, a small community of Zoroastrians 
settled in the west of India, have had no direct 
influence on the historyof Indian art. But the Zoro- 
astrian and Aryan mythologies go back to common 
origins. 

Let us now discover the working out of the ideas 
of which the development has been already outlined. 
In the first place, almost all Hindu art (Brahmanical 
and Mahayana Buddhist) is religious. “ Evenamis- 
shapen image of a god,” says Sukracharya (ca. 5th 
century a.d.) “is to be preferred to an image ofaman, 
howsoever charming.” Not only are images of men 
condemned, butoriginality, divergence from type, the 
expression of personal sentiment, are equally forbid¬ 
den. “(An image made) accordingto rule {shastra) is 
beautiful,no other forsooth is beautiful: some (deem) 
that beautiful which follows after (their own) fancy, 
but that not according to the rule (appears) unlovely 
to the discerning.” The spirit of these uncompromis¬ 
ing doctrines lies at the root of the Hindu view of 
art: these limitationsandthis disciplinearethesource 
of its power. Let us study its expression in a few 
concrete examples. 

16 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
~ili6 Hindus do not regard the religious, rnsthet- | 
ic, and scientific standpoints as necessarily conflict- | 
ing, and in all their finest work, whether musical, 1 
literary, or plastic, these points of view, nowadays so 
sharply distinguished, are inseparably united. 

This synthesis is nowhere better realised than in 
the image of Nataraja (fig. i), “ Lord of the Dance,” 
a form of Shiva,as Overlord, Ishvara. From referen¬ 
ces to Nataraja inthe contemporary hymns we learn 
theprecisesignificanceof the images, and gather that 
this significance must have been quite familiar to the 
imagers themselves and to the worshippers. In these 
images, Shivahas four arms; his braided locks whirl 
inthedance. Set in the hair are a cobra,a skull, a mer¬ 
maid figure of the Ganges, and the crescent moon; in 
the right ear is a man’s earring, in the left a woman’s; 
one hand holds a drum, and another fire, while one 
is raised,and the fourth points to theliftedfoot. The 
right foot is pressed upon a dwarf: from the lotus • 
pedestal rises an encircling glory, fringed with flame, 
and touched by the hands holding drum and fire. The 
images are of all sizes, from a few inches to four feet 
in height: the splendid example illustrated is one of 
the largest. The interpretation of the dance is as 
follows: In the Night of Brahma, Nature is inert, 
and cannot dance till Shiva wills it: He rises from 
17 2 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

his stillness,and,dancing, sends through matter puls¬ 
ing waves of awakening sound, proceeding from the 
drum: then Naturealso dances,appearing abouthim 
as a glory (this glory, the tiruvasi, is broken away 
from the example illustrated). Then in the fulness 
of time, still dancing, He destroys all Names and 
Forms by Fire, and there is new rest. Thus Time 
and the Timeless are reconciled by the conception 
of phase alternations extending over vast areas of 
space and great tracts of time. The orderly dance 
of the spheres, the perpetual movement of atoms, 
evolution and involution, are conceptions that have 
at all times recurred to men’s minds; but to repre¬ 
sent them in the visible form of Nataraja’s Dance 
is a unique and magnificent achievement of the In¬ 
dians. 

If the dancing figurestands for evolution,the ever¬ 
lasting becoming, thej^? type of the seated Buddha 
(fig. 2) is an equally dramatic image of withdrawal, 
of complete independence, of involution. It is well 
to remember that this pose does not represent any 
sort of mortification of the flesh: it is simply that 
position which has been immemoriallyadopted by In¬ 
dian thinkers, asmost convenient for meditation, be-, 
cause the body remainsself-supportedwithouteffort, 
and on the other hand without a tendency to sleep. 






-CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

How little this stillness is related to inertia appears 
in the familiar simile : “ the likeness of the seated 
yogi ; is a lamp in a windless place that flickers not ” 
{Bhagavad Gita, vi. 19). It is just this likeness that 
we must look for in the Buddha image, and this only. 
For the Buddha statue was not intended to repre¬ 
sent a man; it was to be like the unwavering flame, 
an image of what all men could become, not the sim¬ 
ilitude of any apparition ( nirmanakaya ). 

A like impersonality appears in the facial expres¬ 
sion of all the finest Indian sculptures. These have 
sometimesbeen described as expressionless because 
they do not reflect the individual peculiarities which 
make up expression as we commonly conceive it. 
When, however, we “ look to those qualities which 
in their literature were held up as the ideals of life ” 
(Flinders Petrie, The Arts and Crafts of Ancient 
Egypt),webegin to understand the facial expression 
of Hindu images. This ideal is described in many 
places, typically, for example, in the Bhagavad Gita 
xi. 12-19: “ Hateless toward all born beings, void 
of the thought of I and My, bearingindifferentlypain 
and pleasure, before whom the world is not dismayed 
and who is not dismayed before the world; who re¬ 
joices not, grieves not,desires not; indifferent in hon¬ 
our and dishonour, heat and cold, joy and pain; free 

19 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

from attachment ”—such an one is god-like, “ dear 
to Me,” says Krishna. ThcJJhagavad Gltd is also the 
chief gospel of action without attachment: change, 
says Krishna, is the law of life, therefore act accord¬ 
ing to duty, not clinging to any object of desire, but 
like the actor in a play, who knows that his mask 
(/>ersona-\ity) is not himself. 

For this impassivity is not less characteristic of 
the faces of the gods in moments of ecstatic passion 
or destroying fury, than of the face of the stillest 
Buddha. In each, emotion is interior, and the feat¬ 
ures show no trace of it: only the movements or the 
stillness of the limbs express the immediate purpose 
of the actor. That it is “ this body,” not the inmost 
Self that acts, “ that slayeth or is slain,” is as clearly 
expressed in the Indian sculpture of the golden age, 
as anywhere in Vedic literature. This amazing ser¬ 
enity ( shanti ) in moments of deepest passion is not 
quite confined to Indian sculpture: something very 
like it, and more familiar to Western students, is 
found in the gracious and untroubled Mamad furies 
of the Greek vases, the irresponsible and sinless 
madness of the angry Bacchae— 

“Is it joy or terror, ye storm-swift feet?” 

But howfar away is this Indian and early Greek calm 
from the violence of the Laocoon and from the mod- 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
era conceptof the “manof action”! It is afar journey 
from the art of personality and self-expression, to the 
art thatreveals a Self not involvedin any of itstrans- 
ient empirical activities, howsoever noble or base in 
outward seeming. 

I do not mean to say that all these deep thoughts 
were consciously expressed byevery craftsman; cer¬ 
tainly not when tradition had become a mere habit. 
But, to adapt slightly the words of Nietzsche, those 
who first uttered these thoughts in stone or metal, 
and some of those who came after them, kne w as well 
as the wisest ones about the secret of life. The view 
of life that irradiated the whole mental atmosphere 
of India could not be absent from her art; if we re¬ 
alise this, we must become aware that to seek for a 
likeness to men, or the expression of transient senti¬ 
ment, in Indian art, is merely to seek for its weak 
moments. 

Images such as the dancing Shiva or the seated 
Buddha are thework of aschool.not of anyone artist. 
All essential details are passed on from father to son 
in pupillary succession through successive genera¬ 
tions, the medium of transmission consisting of ex¬ 
ample, exactformulasin Sanskrit verse, and diagram¬ 
matic sketches. Thus during many centuries the 
artists of one district apply themselves to the inter- 
21 



ARTS Of CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

pretation of the same ideas; theorigin of those ideas 
is more remote than any particular example. The 
great types are the fruit of communal rather than in¬ 
dividual thought. Thiscommunal thought,however, 
is not only popular thought, but that of the greatest 
and wisest minds of successive generations seeking 
to impress their vision on a whole race. 

There is no more remarkable illustration of the 
Hindu perception of the relative insignificanceof the 
individual personality, than the fact that we scarcely 
know the name of a single painter or sculptor of the 
great periods: while it was a regular custom of auth¬ 
ors to ascribe their work to better-known authors, in 
order to give a greater authority to the ideas they 
set forth. The absence of names in the history of 
Indian art is a great advantage to the historian of 
art; for he is forced to concentrate all his attention 
upon their work, and its relation to life and thought 
as a whole, while all temptation to anecdotal criti¬ 
cism is removed. 

When such types become stereotyped, or the in¬ 
dividual craftsman is a poor artist, the aesthetic value 
of any particular image is proportionately lessened. 
But experience proves that for most of the innocent, 
religious significance is scarcely reduced by the aes¬ 
thetic decadence of a declining style or the crude 
22 



V CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
technique of one yet undeveloped : while the mere 
symbols can be limited to almost algebraic baldness 
without losing their meaning for the learned. More¬ 
over, even those who are most sensitive to beauty, 
when tpey stand before suchanimage, “even if some¬ 
what misshapen,’’are able,in proportion to their own 
intensity of imagination, to clothe it with life, and to 
see beyond what has been accomplished to what was 
originally meant. The one person to whom the some¬ 
what misshapen image makes no appeal is neither 
the devotee, nor the philosopher, nor the artist, but 
the sentimentalist who looks upon the sensuous gra¬ 
tifications—the subject beauty—of art as an end in¬ 
stead of a means; he alone prefers a pretty person¬ 
ality to an awkward divinity. 

Now suppose in place of a great tradition imposed 
on generations of craftsmen of diverse rank, we im¬ 
agine an art of originality, depending on the expres¬ 
sion of personal and transient emotion. We should 
still obtain from time to time the works of individual 
genius, but these, uttered in various separate idioms, 
would by no means secure from the spectator that 
response which is the birthright of all works inspired 
by a living tradition. Secular and personal art can 
onlyappeal to cliques: butahieratic artunitesawhole 
race in one spiritual feudalism. Meanwhile, the in- 

23 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
ferior craftsmen, who in any case would produce in¬ 
ferior versions of the great motifs, if thrown wholly 
upon their own resources, would also come short in 
science and indevotion, and produceworksnotmere- 
ly aesthetically worthless, but altogether worthless. 
This is, in fact,thediagnosisof the shortcoming of all 
our modern individualistic art, that seven-eighths of 
it is the work of men who ought to be servants, and 
not masters : while the work of the one-eighth (if 
there be so large a proportion of genius) is necessar¬ 
ily intelligible only to a very small audience. 

Yet there is one fatal weakness of the later phases 
of atraditionalart: ithasnopowertoresistthecorrup- 
tion from without. Itis beautiful by habit rather than 
intention, so that a single generation under changed 
conditions is sufficient to destroy it. The caste sys¬ 
tem and the hieratic sanctions of I ndian design have 
protected Indian handicraft for a time : but it would 
be useless to pfetend that these handicrafts, for all 
their splendour and devotion, any longer represent 
the thought and feeling of new India. Ninety-nine 
of a hundred university-educated Indians are per¬ 
fectly indifferent to them. The overwhelming desire 
of modern India is to belike modern.Europe: it will 
be many weary centuries before her people are once 
again of one mind, or have so clear a vision of life 
24 



v, CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

as is expressed in the great creative art of the 7th 
and s 8th centuries. 

The Indian imager approached his work with great 
solemnity, invoking the god whom he would repre¬ 
sent. In the Agni Purana, heis told, the night before 
undertaking a great work, topray: “O thou Lord of 
all gods, teach me in dreams how to carry out all the 
work I have in my mind.” He is inspired by Vish- 
vakarma. We have already seen that many of the 
Hindu and Buddhist divinities are deified charms: 
ordinary methods of personal worship of an Ishta 
Devata, involve the repetition of these charms, and 
a deliberate processof visualisation or imagi-nation. 
In the same way the artist, or magician ( Sadhaka ) 
as he is sometimes called (an idea recalling thejt >oga 
maya, or magic of illusion by which Ishvara creates 
the world), is required after various purificatory rites, 
physical and mental, to invoke and visualise and fin¬ 
ally to identifyhimself completely in’thought with the 
divinity to be represented. He thus acts on the prin¬ 
ciple of the saying, “ Devo bhutwa , devamyajet "— 
“ By becoming the god, one should worship the god. ” 
This identification of subject with object is the chief 
aim of the yoga (union) philosophy: it is certainly 
a prerequisite for the most perfect art, for none can 
really know what appears external to himself. Were 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

it possible to find any true short way to art, it would 
surely be this, that the artist must identify himself 
with his subject; it should be an insult to credit him 
with observation, for to observe implies a separation 
from that which is observed. It is likewise a test of 
art, that it should enable the spectator to forget him¬ 
self, and to become its subject, as he does in dreams. 
But this method is not really a short one. "Only when 
I was seventy-three,” says Hokusai, "had I got some 
sort of insight into the real structure of nature . . . 
attheageof eighty I shall have advancedstill further; 
at ninety, I shall grasp the mystery of things ; at a 
hundred, I shall be a marvel,and atahundredandten 
every blot, every line from my brush shall be alive.” 

It is not, of course, to be supposed that every minor 
craftsman always followed out the ritual prescribed 
for the artist, or that the ritual never degenerated 
into a mere formula: but the theory no doubt actu¬ 
ally represents the mental attitude of those who first 
saw the great motifs, as truly as it represents the 
position of those who heard the Vedas. All these, 
sculptors, poets, or singers, desired to make them- 
selvesachannelforthe passage of ideas fromadivine 
world tothis physical earth, and all equally regarded 
personal and discrete intellectual activity as incom¬ 
patible with the apprehension of remote truth. 

26 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

This process of intuition, setting aside one’s per¬ 
sonal thought in order to see or hear, is the exact re¬ 
verse of the modern theory which considers a con¬ 
scious self-expression as the proper aim of art. It is 
hardly to be wondered at that the hieratic art of the 
Indians, as of the Egyptians, thus static and imper¬ 
sonal, should remain somewhat unapproachable to 
a purely secular consciousness. 

Symbolism isthe language of hieratic art, in which 
one poet may sing gloriously, and another may only 
stammer. The symbols of hieratic art range from 
the “natural” to the “arbitrary,” with all transitions: 
some will explain themselves at once, like onomato- 
poetic words in any language, while it may be as im¬ 
possible to translate the full significance of others as 
to find a full English rendering for every single word 
ofawritten language equallyrichinassociation. The 
important fact about these symbols or conventions, 
of whatever sort, is that they were the accepted med¬ 
ium of communication between artist and spectator: 
they were taken for granted, and we can hardly ex¬ 
pect to fully enter into the spirit of the art ourselves, 
unless we also learn to take for granted a few of its 
constantly recurring phrases. Space will only per¬ 
mit of reference to two types of symbolism in H indu 
art: the lotus (water lily), and the mudras (positions 
2 7 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

of the hands). Such symbols belong to the category 
of thingstaken for granted by the artist, and it isonly 
because we conceive them pedantically that we fail 
to realise how easy it was to endow them with life. 

Countless human and racial associations gather 
about the lotus: its delicate blossoms are the gloryof 
every bathing pool and lake, while in literature the 
eyes of every beautiful woman or man are likened to 
its flowers, and these flowers, closing at night and 
imprisoningthe bees, are theconstantsubjectof other 
poetic metaphors. Growing in the mud, and yet so 
clean, the lotus is a symbol of purity: a lotus-pool, 
with leaves and flowers in bud, widely opened, and 
again dying down, is an image of the ebb and flow of 
human life ( samsara ). Bodily centres of conscious¬ 
ness, such as the solarplexus.the heartandthe brain, 
are represented in lotus forms, while the whole uni¬ 
verse is sometimes imagined as one great flower 
whose petals are outlined by the starry worlds: in 
this last sense, probably, we should understand the 
flower held in the hand of Avalokiteshvara and other 
deities, the flowers offered by th q gopis to Krishna, 
and those offered in daily worship. Most important, 
however, in art, is the representation of a lotus flow¬ 
er as the seat of a god, or beneath the feet of a stand- 
ing figure of a god, a convention representing the 
28 



f?5tVflNr»<svw 

CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

fact that the feet of the gods do not rest on the earth. 
The lotus pedestal, like other godly attributes, is thus 
in the proper sense true: for the types of divine im¬ 
ages go back ultimately to the visions and dreams 
of saints, for whom this lightness has always been a 
matter of experience. This truth iswhollydestroyed 
when, in some quite modern pictures in a would-be 
European manner, the lotus-throne is represented 
realistically : at once the divinity grows heavy, and 
we are led to inquire why the lotus petals are not 
crushed, and why its slender stalk remains unbent. 

In Indian images, great significance is to be at¬ 
tached to gesture : a part of this is very obvious, as 
appears if we contrast the stillness of a Buddha with 
the fluidityof Nataraja. This gesture symbolism de¬ 
rives directly from life ; the seated Buddha posture, 
for example, is that of greatest repose and stability, 
and is adopted to this day by all those who meditate. 
The gods are of human imaging. Shiva is “ Thou 
that dost take the forms imagined by Thy worship¬ 
pers”: but these forms again react upon life, so that 
when we take our way to the ghats at Benares and 
mark the stillness and grace of those who bathe and 
pray, we have before us both cause and effect. But 
the poses of art, especially those of the hands, called 
mudras , may not always explain themselves at once 
29 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
to onewho has never seen them in life. To take con¬ 
crete examples, the right hand of fig. 28 is in vitarka 
mudra, indicating argument or discourse ; the near¬ 
er right hand of fig. 1, the right hand of fig. 35, and 
the detached hand of fig. 5, are in abhaya mudra, in¬ 
dicating “do not fear”; the hands of fig. 24 are in the 
dharnia-cakra mudra , “turning the wheel of the 
Law”; the pose of fig. 31 is known as mahardja-llla- 
asana, “ pose of kingly ease.” The three most usual 
variations of the seated Buddha or yogi type are (1) 
with the hands folded in the lap, in dhyani mudra, 
“meditation”(fig. 2); (2) the right hand raised in dis¬ 
course (figs. 3, 4); and the right hand dropped over 
the knee to touch the earth ( bkumiskparsa mudra, 
“calling earth to witness”). A less formal treatment 
of the hands in other works is often no less eloquent; 
for example, the hand of Parvati laid on Shiva’s arm 
(fig. 30); the offering hands of Hanuman (fig. 49); 
the praying hands of the naginls (fig. 70); the sing¬ 
er’s fingers (fig. 71); and the dancing feet of Shiva 
(figs. 6-8). Such hands and limbs of Indian images 
reflect the Indian physical type in their smoothness 
and flexibility, and the nervousness of their vitality. 
There, every separate finger, whether motionless or 
moving, is alive ; while it is one of the clearest signs 
of decadence and reduced intensity of realisation, 
30 






CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

when the fingers become either stiff or flabby, or dis- 
. posed exactly in one plane. 

Beside the seated forms already noticed, there are 
not less characteristic standing poses. Some severe 
types are perfectly symmetrical (figs. 27, 51); but 
more frequent, and capableof greater variation, is the 
stance, well seen in fig. 57, where the weight of the 
body rests on one leg and the other is slightly bent'. 
Imagesof the latter type are called trivarika, because, 
the median line, in front view, is thrice curved. A 
variety of this with legs crossed is frequently adopt¬ 
ed in the representations of Krishna as flute-player 
(figs. 58, 132). From such forms, again, there are all 
transitions to the continuous movement and perfect 
fluidity of the dancers (fig. 1, etc.). If any power in 
Indian art is really unique, it is its marvellous repre¬ 
sentation of movement—for here in the movement 
of the limbs is given the swiftness and necessity of 
the impelling thought itself, much more than a his¬ 
tory of action subsequent to thought. 

There isa close connection between sculpture and 
dancing; not merely inasmuch as certain images re¬ 
present dancing gods (Shiva, Krishna, etc.),but be¬ 
cause the Indian art of dancing is primarily one of 
gesture, in which the hands play a most important 
part. The special symbolism of hands ( mudra) has 
3i 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

been already alluded to (p. 2$); but only a complete 
knowledge of the language of dance gesture would 
prepare the student to fully interpret the sculptures 
(cf figs, i, 50). Four positions of the hands photo¬ 
graphed from a bayadere of Tanjore are given here 
as examples, the figs. 9-12 signifying respectively a 
deer, Krishna’s raising Mount Govardhan, Vishnu’s 
Garuda, and a bed. By means of this concrete gest¬ 
ure language the dancer is enabled .to give long de¬ 
scriptions of the gods, especially the incarnations of 
Vishnu, and to express every possible sentiment 
(rasa). 

A few words may be added here about the status 
of the.craftsman^Jn Vedic times, the vishis them¬ 
selves are represented as preparing the sacrificial 
posts and altars; in Asoka’s day, those who injured 
the royal craftsmen were liable to the punishment of 
death; while it has been a constant feature of Indian 
civilisation, as of all aristocratic and theocratic cul¬ 
tures, that the craftsmen should be endowed, receiv¬ 
ing either royal or ecclesiastical patronage. Crafts¬ 
manship, like learning, being thus protected, and 
the craftsman holding an assured and hereditary l 
position, can alone make possible the association 
with work of that leisure and affection which distin¬ 
guish all the finest handicraft. 

32 






CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

The practice of the arts has usually been confined 
to the members of hereditary castes. The higher 
Hindu and Sinhalese artificers trace their descent 
from Vishvakarma: to this day they style them¬ 
selves Vishvabrahmans,employ priests of their own 
caste, and claim spiritual equality with Brahmans. 
All craftsmen regard their art as a mystery, and 
look upon its traditions, handed down in pupillary 
succession, as invested with sacred and scriptural 
authority. In connection with the consecration of im¬ 
ages, the higher craftsmen themselves exercise sac¬ 
erdotal functions. 

The importance attached to craftsmanship, and 
the picture of the ideal craftsman, may be gathered 
from the following characteristic extracts from a 
Shilpashastra : 

“That anyother than a Shilpan should build tem¬ 
ples, towns, seaports, tanks, or wells, is comparable 
to the sin of murder. 

“ The Shilpan should understand the Atharva 
Veda, the 32 Shilpaskastras, and the Vedic man¬ 
tras by which the deities are invoked. 

“ The Shilpan should be one who wears a sacred 
thread,anecklaceof sacred beads, and aring of kusha 
grass upon his finger: one delighting in the worship 
of God, faithful to his wife, avoiding strange women, 
33 3 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

true to his family, of a pure heart and virtuous, chant¬ 
ing the Vedas, constant in the performance of cere¬ 
monial duties, piously acquiring a knowledge of var¬ 
ious sciences—such a one is indeed a Craftsmamj 

We are also told that expert and honestcraftsmen 
and architects will be reborn in royal or noble fami¬ 
lies : butthosewho work amiss will fall into hell, and 
shall return to future lives of poverty and hardship. 

It is noteworthy that in many crafts the final pro¬ 
duct is a result of the division of labour. The crafts- 
manis not often his own designer. The cotton print¬ 
ers and embroiderers do not make their own wood 
blocks: the painter draws on the cloth or metal the 
necessary outlines for the Chamba embroiderer or 
the Ceylon damascener. Brocade patterns are not 
designed by the actual weavers. Thejaipurenamels 
are the work of at least fivepersons—designer, gold¬ 
smith, engraver, maker of the enamel, and enamel- 
ler. Where there is no recourse to an ‘ ‘artist,” it will 
be found that most of the designs are traditionally 
inherited, and so constant as to be familiar to every 
workman, and there is little to distinguish the work 
of one man from another. But the designer is always 
familiar with the conditions of the craft; there is no 
division of labour akin to the industrial distinction 
and separation of the artist from the craftsman. In 
34 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
many cases also it happens that the best men are at 
once designersandthemselves skilled in many crafts: 
in Ceylon, forexample, the same man may be at once 
an architect, jeweller, painter, and ivory carver. 

Already in the time of Buddha the craftsmen were 
organised in guilds ( sreni ), the number of which is 
often given as eighteen. In northern India at the 
present day there are also guilds of Musulman crafts¬ 
men, such as that of the Benares brocade weavers; 
but the tendency since Mughal times has been for 
the Hindu workmen to predominate. 

Wemust nowreturn from the actual craftsman toa 
very brief discussion of political history, in so far as it 
can form the basis of a classification of schools of art. 
After Buddha (d. 483 b.c.) the next great landmarks 
of Indian history are Alexander’s raid (327 b.c.), 
the reign of Chandragupta Maurya at Pataliputra 
(321-297 b.c. ), and the reign of his grandson Asoka, 
“ Beloved of the Gods” (272-235 b.c.). In Asoka’s 
time Buddhismwasstillessentiallyasystemof ration¬ 
alistic morality, though already with traces of meta¬ 
physical and theological development. To this sys¬ 
tem Asoka became a convert, and first made of Bud¬ 
dhism a state religion. He also sent missionaries 
throughout Indiaandto Ceylon, and even to Europe 
and Africa. Within his own dominions (all India 
35 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

excepttheextremesouth)hesetup a number of stone 
pillars inscribed with edicts enjoining the practice 
of the Buddhist morality, but without antagonism 
to other beliefs. 

After Asoka, princes of Greek descent occupied 
Afghanistan and the country west of the Indus. Asi¬ 
atic tribes known as Sakas and Kushans then replaced 
these and invaded and occupied the north-west of 
India, remaining in power during the first three cen¬ 
turies after Christ. Kanishka's capital ( ca . 78 a.d.) 
was at Peshawar. These “ Indo-Scythians ” were 
thoroughgoing Buddhists and patronised a prolific 
sculpture and architecture based on Roman and late 
Greek models. The mystic and theological develop¬ 
ment of Mahayana Buddhism was now almost com¬ 
plete. 

The next great dynasty was that of the Guptas 
(320-480 a.d. ), whose capital was again at Patali- 
putra. Their empire extended across northern I ndia 
from Kathiawar to Bengal. During this period and 
succeeding centuries, many “White Huns” from 
Central Asia invaded India and settled in Rajputana 
and the Panjab, where they were completely Hindu- 
ised, and become Rajputs. 

Our intimate knowledge of the Guptas is largely 
due to the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Fa-Hien (tra- 
36 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 

veiled 399-4 1 3 a. d. ), who lived for six years at Pata- 
liputra. The Guptas were themselves Vaishnava 
Hindus, but favoured the Buddhists, and Fa-Hien 
describes the two cults as flourishing side by side. 

The Guptas were followed by Harshavardhana 
(606-648 a.d.), and his contemporary Pulakesin in 
the Deccan. In his reign Hiouen Tsang (travelled 
629-645 a.d.), another Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, 
journeyed all over India,and wrote an invaluable ac¬ 
count of what he saw. Harshavardhana patronised 
all sects,particularly the Shaivites, Sauras, and Bud¬ 
dhists. 

The 5th, 6th,and7th centuries (Guptas and Har- 
sha)coverthemostbrilliantperiod of classic Sanskrit 
literature and Hindu learning generally; this was 
the flowering time of the Hindu renaissance. The 
epics had already been completed. Drama reached 
its zenith in Kalidasa (5th century), and for theory, 
in Bharata; while this was no doubt also the golden 
age of Indian music. Bana in the 7th century de¬ 
scribes a court life exactly like that represented in 
the contemporary paintings of Ajanta. The Shilpa- 
shastras and other encyclopaedic works may also be 
assignedtotheGuptaperiod,ratherearlier than later. 
This was also thechief scientificperiod of Hinduism, 
covering the lives of the three greatest of Indian as- 
37 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
tronomers. Buddhismmeanwhile graduallydeclined, 
except locally in Bengal, Nepal, and Ceylon, absorb¬ 
ed rather than ousted by Hinduism. This was also 
an age of maritime activity, shown, for example, in 
the colonisation of Java. The Gupta and Harsha 
period was also one of profound Indian influence up¬ 
on China, and, somewhat later, Japan. At this time 
India was the dynamic centre of all Asia and the 
first civilised power in the whole world. 

After Harsha, Northern India was divided into 
various Rajput kingdoms; this Rajput period lasted 
till the 12th century, and in areas not overwhelmed 
bytheMuhammadans,viz.inRajputanaandthe Pan¬ 
jab Himalayas,it continues to the present day. Other 
Hindu dynasties (Chalukyas, Hoysalas, etc.) occu¬ 
pied the Deccan; while Buddhist kingdoms were 
maintained in Bengal and Orissa till the 12th cent¬ 
ury. In the far south (Dravida) three ancient king¬ 
doms, the Chola, Chera, and Pandava, maintained 
an old and independent civilisation distinguished in 
literary achievement and seaborne trade with Europe 
and the far East. Southern India is without doubt 
the Biblical “Ophir.” 

The chief landmarks of the history of Ceylon are 
the conversion to Buddhism by Asoka’s missionaries 
(b.c. 307): the capital at Anuradhapura up to the 
38 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
8thcentury: atPolonnaruvafromthe8thtothe 13th 
century: at Kandy from the 16th century : and the 
British occupation in 1815. It should be noted that 
the distinctively Sinhalese (Buddhist) art is the 
Kandyan artof the interior: theartof Jaffna belongs 
to that of Southern I ndia, while that of the low country 
during the last three centuries has been one-third 
, European. 

The Musulman occupation of India falls into two; 
periods, first, the destructive phase, 1000 to 1506 a.d.,\ 
and second, the Mughal Empire, 1506 to 1761 a.d.J 
The Muhammadans at one time or another over- j 
ran nearly all India except Travancore and Nepal. ‘ 
The southern Hindu kingdom of Vijanayagar sue-, 
cessfully held its own from its rise in the 14th cen-j 
tury till its fall in 1565: while the Marattas success-; 
fully established their independence in the 18th cen-j 
tury, when Mughal power was rapidly declining.! 
The British period is generally held to begin with) 
the year 1761. 

Lack of space prohibits any detailed discussion 
of the foreign elements in Indian art. The most an¬ 
cient part of this art belongs to the common endow¬ 
ment of “Early Asiatic” culture which once extended 
from the Mediterranean to China, and as far south as 
Ceylon, where some of the most archaic motifs sur- 
39 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

vive in the decoration of pottery. To this Mykenean 
faciesbelong all the simpler arts of woodwork, weav¬ 
ing, metal-work, pottery, etc., together with a group 
of designs including many of a remarkably Mediter¬ 
ranean aspect, oth ers more likely originatingin West- 
ern Asia. The wide extension and consistency of 
this culture throughout Asia in the second millen¬ 
nium b.c. throws important light on ancient trade 
intercourse, at a time when the Eastern Mediter¬ 
ranean formed the Western boundary of the civil¬ 
ised world. 

Much later in origin are the definite Assyrianisms 
and Persian elements in the Asokan and early Bud¬ 
dhist sculpture, such as the bell-capital and winged 
lions. Alexander’s raid in 327 b.c. left no perma¬ 
nent effects of any sort on Indian culture; but Greek 
influences are strong in the first three or four centur¬ 
ies a.d., in the north (Panjab, Mathura, and Nepal). 
The 6th and 7th centuries are the creative and most 
independent age of classic Indian art, which culmin¬ 
ates in the 8th. 

Saracenic influences increase from the time of 
Mahmud Ghazni’s first raid in 1000 a.d. up to the 
17th century (extending even to Java, conquered 
in 1488 a.d.), while Hindu and Buddhist art in Nepal, 
Orissa, Southern India,and Ceylon, were almost un- 
40 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
affected. European influences, chiefly on painting, 
are clearly distinguishable from the close of the 16th 
century; in the south and west there is a definite 
I ndo- Portuguese style of wood and metal work. The 
full destructive force of Western industrialism has 
not been felt till after 1850: the modern Swadeshi 
movement, for the revival of Indian manufactures, 
is but little concerned with handicraft or happiness. 

The schools of styles of Indian art as known by 
actual remains may be classified as follows : 

Early Buddhist, b.c. 300 to 50A.D. : pillar edicts," 
Sanchl and Mahabodhi stupas and railings I 
(all Asokan, 3rd century b.c.); Mathura frag-/ 
ments; Amaravati and Bharhut stupa, and^ 
Sanchl gates (2nd century b.c.). 

Kushan or Graeco-Buddhist, 50 to 320 a.d.: 
Gandhara sculptures of the Afghanistan 
frontier; sculpture at Mathura; architecture 
at Gandhara, and later in Kashmir (Mart- 
and, 8th century): Mahabodhi great temple I 
(ca. 140A.D.): Besnagar g-aruda pillar; trans- 
ition of Early Buddhist to Gupta at Amara- ' 
vati (railing, 150, to 200 a.d.); early painting 
at Ajanta and in Orissa. 

Gupta, 320 to 600 a.d. : sculpture and architect¬ 
ure (stupa, etc.), at Sarnath; at Anuradha- 

41 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

pura (2nd century B.c. to 9th century A.D.); 
sculpture and painting at Ajanta; painting 
and secular architecture at Sigiriya(Ceylon, 
5th century). 

Classic Indian, 600 to 850 A.D., but especially 
the 8th century: latest and best painting at 
Ajanta; sculpture and architecture at El- 
ura, Elephanta, Mamallapuram, Anuradha- 
pura and Borobodur (Java). 

Medieval, 9th to 18th century (surviving in Cey¬ 
lon, Travancore, Rajputana, etc., up to the 
British period, and in Nepal to the pres¬ 
ent day): Shaivite bronzes (Nataraja, etc.); 
sculpture and architecture of Tanjore (10th 
to 12th century), Vijayanagar (14th to 16th 
century), Madura( 17 th century), Auvadaiyar 
Kovil, Tarpatri (16th century), Perur, Sriran- 
gam, Ramesvaram, etc.; Chalukyan architec¬ 
ture of Mysore, etc. (Belur, Halebid, 12th 
to 13th century); sculpture and architecture 
in Java up to 14th century, in Cambodia to 
the 12th; Polonnaruva sculpture and archi¬ 
tecture (8th to 13th century), Kandy (16th 
to 18th century); Jain temples at Abu (1 ith 
to 13th century), Orissa (Bhuvaneshvar, 
Konarak, Purl, 9th to 13th century), Khaj- 
42 



CHARACTER AND HISTORY 
uraho (ca. 1000 a.d.); Rajput painting and 
architecture (up to 19th century); Mughal 
painting and architecture (16th to 18th cent¬ 
ury); Nepalese Buddhistbronzes; art of Bur¬ 
ma and Siam. 

British, 1760- : decline of crafts; survival of 

architecture; school-of-art painting; swade- 
shi\ modern Bengali painting. 




(BLANK PAGE-NO CONTENTS) 



CHAPTER TWO 

SCULPTURE 



(BLANK PAGE-NO CONTENTS) 



CHAPTER SECOND SCULPTURE 
INDIAN SCULPTURE, WHICH EXISTS 
in bewildering variety and quantity, has never been 
systematically studied. For want of space we shall 
not attempthereanything like a detailed history, but 
rather take certain leading types and endeavour to 
investigate their psychology and to describe their 
main stylistic peculiarities. 

At the outset we are faced with a problem which 
arises also in connection with the architecture, viz., 
the lack of evidence regarding the origins of an art 
that is already highly evolved when we meet with 
its first monuments in stone. The solution, as in the 
case of architecture, is to be found in the early use 
of impermanent materials—clay, stucco, wood: and 
also, perhaps, in the destruction of images made in 
precious metal, like the golden image of Slta men¬ 
tioned in the Ramayana. Abundant references and 
remains exist to show that such perishable materials 
, were continuously made use of from the beginning 
up to modern times; for example, temporary images 
of mud are made at the present day, suchas the great 
figure of Bhlma at Benares, annually swept away by 
the Ganges floods and annually renewed; or, again, 
the painted mud images made for bali ceremonies in 
Ceylon. Analogous also to these survivals are chil¬ 
dren’s dolls (even the realistic terra-cotta figures of 
47 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

Lucknow), puppet-shows, and actors’ masks. 

Early Buddhism, as we have seen, is strictly ra¬ 
tionalistic, and could no more have inspired a meta¬ 
physical art than the debates of a modern ethical 
society could become poetry. The early Sutras, in¬ 
deed, expressly condemn the arts, inasmuch as “form, 
sound, taste, smell, touch, intoxicate beings.” It is 
thus fairly evident that before Buddhism developed 
into a popular State religion (under Asoka) there can 
hardly have existed any “Buddhist art.” But Bud¬ 
dha never denied the existence of the Brahmanical 
gods, he merelyemphasised the viewthat these gods 
formed part of the samsara and stood in need of sal¬ 
vation as much as men ; and there is every reason 
to suppose that the Buddhist laity continued to fol¬ 
low already existing animistic cults, and to worship 
images of gods constructed of wood and clay.* The 
most remarkable monuments of the 3rd century b.c. 
are the stone columns on which are inscribed the 
famous edicts of Asoka. The capital of one of these 
is illustrated in fig. 17. Already in Asoka’s time there 
is much talk of the gods ; and though there is little 
stone sculpture of his date, other than the magnifi¬ 
cent capitals of his inscribed pillars, we find at Bhar- 

* Hindu images were certainly in use as early as the 4th century 
B.C. (Indian Antiquary , 1909, pp. 145-149). 

48 



SCULPTURE V" 
hut, Sanchl, and Bodh Gaya, a century later, that 
Buddhism had already begun to organise a theology 
of its own. The principal members of this early Bud¬ 
dhist pantheon are the Guardians of the FourQuart- 
ers, representedas beneficentya&s&aandnag'a kings, 
and the Earth Goddess, represented as a yakshi. 
These forms are carved in low relief on the sides of 
the stone pillars of the gateways of the railings at 
Bharhut (fig. 19); but there are damaged remnants 
of similar figures in the round from Mathura, Bes- 
nagar, and from Patna (Pataliputra). Another in¬ 
stance of sculpture in the round is afforded by the 
beautiful bracket figures of the Sanchl gates (figs. 
190 and 79)—-dryads, leaning outwards from the 
trees of their habitation, with fearless and unaffected 
grace. Beside these figures of gods and men, we find 
at Bharhut and Sanchl a quantity of narrative sculp¬ 
ture illustrating the Jatakas and episodes in the last 
life of Buddha; these scenes are represented on car¬ 
ved medallions at Bharhut, and on the gateway pillars 
at Sanchl. There are also fine seals from Ceylon (fig. 
16) and Bhlta (fig. 18); the latter, a terra-cotta im¬ 
pression, probably from an ivory die, resembles in 
design many of the railing medallions, but is of much 
finer workmanship. It is remarkable that the figure 
of Buddha is never indicated, but he is represented 
49 4 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA S? CEYLON 
only by symbols such as the slippers, umbrella, or 
sacred tree. 

The characteristics of this Early Buddhist style 
are the complete naturalism of its design, with a dis¬ 
tinct elementof sensuousness, its wood-carving tech¬ 
nique, and the general absence of foreign influences, 
except in a few details. The representation of ani¬ 
mals is excellent, but inferior to that in the Asokan 
sculpture of a century earlier. 

The art of the Amaravatl railing (figs. 22, 23) of 
the 2nd century a.d. (thus about 250 years later than 
Sanchi) is a logical development of the earlier style 
of Barhut and Sanchi, and so good that it was once 
held to mark “the culmination of the art of sculpture 
in India” (Fergusson). It offers “delightful studies 
ofanimal life,combinedwithextremelybeautiful con¬ 
ventionalised ornament,” and “the most varied and 
difficult movements of the human figure are drawn 
andmodelledwith great freedom andskill”(Havell). 
The well-known examples on the British Museum 
stairs suffer from the lack of the painted plaster sur¬ 
face which must once have covered the stone foun¬ 
dation. Most of the sculpture is still in low relief on 
medallions, plinth, and coping ; over 16,000 square 
feet must once have been covered with sculptured 
reliefs. If there are any Hellenistic elements recog- 
5° 






SCULPTURE 

nisable in this southern work, their origin is more 
probably to be attributed to the sea-borne trade with 
Alexandria than to any communications with Bac- 
tria. The most important development in subject- 
matter appears in the representation of the Buddha, 
asa man,seated myogt posture, meditating or teach¬ 
ing. There are also standing figures of Buddha, with 
formal and severe drapery. The figure sculpture 
shows some traces of a transition to the later Gupta 
style, but little of the subsequent idealism. As every¬ 
where in Indian art, the chief decorative motif is the 
rose-lotus, and it is here treated very beautifully and 
richly in a rather realistic manner. 

The sculpture of Anuradhapura in Ceylon, which 
is completely independent of the Bactrian influences, 
would be our best guide to the history of Indian art 
uptotheclassic period, had wealready themoreexact 
data which stylistic criticism may some day provide. 
As it is, it would appear that the most characteristic 
examples are in what would be called, in India, the 
Gupta style. The design of the earlier statues (fig. 
27) very closely recalls the (pre-Gupta) Amaravati 
standing figures, and at the same time shows an ap¬ 
proach to a later type in the transparent clinging 
drapery. Dignified as these figures are, the great 
Buddha (fig. 2) surpasses them in grandeur: there 
Si 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

is no northern work of equal rank, though others in 
Ceylon are nearly as good. A nearer approach to 
the gracious movement of the classic type of Indian 
sculpture is found in some of the sculptured dwara- 
pdlas, the ndga door-guardians of |he entrances to 
the Anuradhapura viharas (fig. 25). Animal proces¬ 
sions are represented on the beautiful carved moon¬ 
stone doorsteps, a form recalling the half-medallions 
of the Indian railings. A relief at Isurumuniya (fig. 
26) resembles the love scenes of the Ajanta paint¬ 
ings. The Gupta style incontinental Indiais likewise 
characterised by the suavity and fulness of its forms, 
and its closely clinging transparent draperies. The 
bestexamplesarefromSarnath(fig. 24)and Mathura; 
the inscribed Buddha from Mankuwar; the bronze 
figures from Sultanganj (Bengal) and Buddhavani 
(Kistna dist.)(fig. 3); and the cave sculptures from 
Besnagar (Bhopal), Ajanta, BadamI, and elsewhere. 
The beautiful Vadrantapa seal, which may be dated 
on palseographicgrounds about 600,has details very 
like contemporary work at Ajanta, but the figure 
shows advanced tendencies in its very slender waist. 
It is possible that the Ceylon bronze figure of Pattini 
(British Museum), in which the slender waist is also 
much emphasised, is also as earlyas the 7th century. 

We have so far left unmentioned the Graeco- 

5 2 . 









SCULPTURE 

Buddhist sculpture of the first three centuries after 
Christ, from Gandhara in Afghanistan and Mathura 
and Sarnath in India: partly because the former 
group belongs more to the history of Central Asian 
than of Indian art, and partly because by the close 
of the 4th century practically all trace of Graeco- 
Roman influences has disappeared in India,* even in 
the north, so that the Graeco-Buddhist sculpture as 
a whole isof small importance in the history of I ndian 
art,except for iconography. In the latter sense,how¬ 
ever, it is very important, because its rise nearly co¬ 
incides with thefirstrepresentationf of Buddhaother- 
wise than by symbols, and with the full development 
of the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon in all its main 
outlines. Gandhara sculpture is the work of Graeco- 
Roman craftsmen or Indian imitators, working for 
Indo-Scythian kings who patronised Buddhism as 
a State religion; it is a thoroughly hybrid art in which 
provincial Romanforms are adapted to the purposes 
of Indian imagery. Thus we find Apollo as the proto- 
\ 

* As even Mr Vincent Smith admits (History of Fine Art in India 
and Ceylon , p. 390) : “Whatever influence Greece had exercised on 
Indian art was practically exhausted by A.D. 400.” 

+ There can be little doubt that Buddha images existed before the 
Gandhara sculptures. See Burgess , Journal of Indian Art, vol. viii. 
p. 33, and Sister Nivedita, Modem Review (Calcutta), July, August 
1910. 


S 3 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

type of Buddha, posing in the attitude of an Indian 
yogi, while other god-forms are taken over with even 
less modification. The aesthetic merits of this purely 
commercialart areof the sameorder with,butscarce- 
ly equal to,thoseof modern Catholic plaster saints; it 
is as far removed from the great Greek art that lies 
behind it, as from the classic Indian art of several 
centuries later. Figs. 20, 21 represent one of the 
best examples of the Gandhara seated Buddhas, and 
a characteristic Bodhisattva; both above the average 
in merit, and distinguished by a certain dignity and 
somewhat effeminate grace. 

Before considering examples of the classic phase 
of Indian sculpture in the 7th and 8th centuries, and 
its survivals and developments in later mediaeval 
works, let us briefly consider it as a whole. This art, 
as Maindron remarks, has been judged by most writ¬ 
ers “ with an injustice for which the only excuse ap¬ 
pears to be its extraordinary naivete, when it is not 
the result of a pious bigotry as exaggerated as that 
of the conquering Musulmans.” It has indeed only 
been judged by special standards quite unconnected 
with the law of its growth or the growth of any art 
of like kind. 

Those who regard the terra-cotta statuettes of 
Lucknow as the “ very highest form of fine art in 
54 



SCULPTURE 

India ”—who are unable, in their study of “ influen¬ 
ces,” to distinguish external form from informing 
spirit—who believe in a “progress” of art from Giot¬ 
to to Raphael—and those who consider their own 
the only true vision of God—certainly none of these 
are likely to praise the classic Mahayana Buddhist 
or Brahmanical art. Butthose who have learnt the 
language of Giotto, or have understood the imagers 
of Chartres, or in whom the earliest Egyptian and 
archaic Greek sculpture has awakened the fear of 
beauty—these the classic art of Indiawill alsomove. 

There are tests more universal than those of par- 
ticularcanons or personal likes and dislikes. A great 
art expresses a clear and impassioned vision of life: 
each unessential statement detracts from its power. 
A purely aesthetic standard is given by Leonardo 
da Vinci—“ That figure is most worthy of praise 

1 1 which by its action best expresses the passion that 
] animates it.” There is no going behind this to con¬ 
nect the goodness or badness of the work of art with 
the supposed goodness or badness of the informing 
passion. It is no essential business of art to incite to 
good or bad actions, and nearly all art which has any 
such conscious purpose is sentimental. The true eth¬ 
ical value of art appears in its quality of detachment 
and vision. This is brought out most clearly in the 
55 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
great text of Hsieh Ho (Chinese, 6th century)— 
“Whether or not the work exhibits the fusion of the 
rhythm of the spirit with the movement of living 
things.” We may note in passing that this thought 
most likely derives from Indian philosophy: trans¬ 
lated back into Indian, it would run—“ Whether or 
not the work reveals the Self ( atman) within the 
form ( rupa ).” Practically the same test is laid down 
by a modern critic (C. J. Holmes) in demanding in 
a great work of art the qualities of Unity, Vitality, 
Infinity, Repose ; for these are no more or less than 
the rhythms or economy of the spirit. The presence 
of this spirit is Beauty. 

A confusion of two different things is often maae 
in speaking of the subject-matter of art. It is often 
rightly said, both that the subject-matter is of small 
importance, and that the subject-matter of great art 
is always the same. In the first case, it is the im¬ 
mediate or apparent subject-matter—the represent¬ 
ative element—that is spoken of; it is here that we 
feel personal likes and dislikes. To be guided by 
such likes and dislikes is always right for a practis- 
ingartist and for all thosewho do not desirea cosmo¬ 
politan experience ; and indeed, to be a connoisseur 
and perfectly dispassionate critic of many arts or re¬ 
ligions is rarely compatible with impassioned devo- 
56 



SCULPTURE 

tion to a single one. It may be freely granted that 
in a self-contained community where art is flour¬ 
ishing, ignorance of other arts is not a proof of lack 
of cultivation. It matters not that the imagers of 
Chartres knew nothing of archaic Greek; the spirit 
in them was the same. But it argues a terrible de¬ 
gree of callousness that those whose world is so much 
larger, and especially those who actually travel or 
spend the greater part of their life in India, should 
make no effort to understand her life and art. This, 
for them, is lack of cultivation. I do not ask for more 
scholasticism, but for more imagination; for without 
his,all that can be accomplished in India, by foreign¬ 
ers 1 ^ by Indians, must be vandalism. 

I do not perceivea fundamental distinction of arts 
as national—Indian, Greek, or English. All art in¬ 
terprets life; it is like the Vedas, eternal, independ¬ 
ent of the accidental conditions of those who see or 
hear. Hence, if one should say that he is touched 
by the Italian, and not by the Chinese primitives, or 
by Greek, and not by Egyptian or Indian sculpture, 
we understand that he has done no more than accept 
a formula. It is thishabitof accepting formulaswhich 
makes it so often possible for one form of truth to be 
used in denial of all others; like Michael Angelo, we 
are apt to say that Italian painting isgood,and there- 
57 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
fore good painting is Italian. This not only prevents 
our understanding the arts of other races, but is the 
. chief cause of the neglect of living artists: patrons 
fare not sufficiently sensitive to trust their judgment 
^'outside the accepted formulas. 

To cultivate same-sightedness, to recognise one 
reality behind the pleasant and unpleasant Names 
and Forms, the familiar and unfamiliar formulas, it is 
needful to go behind the merely representative ele¬ 
ment to the purely emotional content of art, its deal¬ 
ings with love and death, for these 

“are exactly the same to all in all nations and times 
all over the earth.” 

It is this content, the movement of the spirit, that is 
the universal subject-matter of art. 

We ought not, then, to like a work of art merely 
because it is like something we like. It is unworthy 
to exploit a picture or a phrase merely as a substitute 
for a beautiful environment or a beloved friend. We 
ought not to demand to be pleased and flattered, for 
our true need is to be touched by love or fear. The 
meaningof art is fardeeper than thatof its immediate 
subject. 

The immediate subject, however, is well worthy 
our close study when it is hieratic or mythological, 
that is whenever it represents racial types rather than 
58 



SCULPTURE 

individuals. Forthe gods are the dreams of therace, 
in whom its intentions are most perfectly fulfilled. 
From them we come to know its innermost de¬ 
sires and purposes. These dreams are the guardians 
— dkarmapalcts —of thegroup, shaped and reshaped 
by itself subconsciously for the guidance of everyone 
of its children. It mustthus be an idle thing to speak 
of a love of India, which does not implya love of her 
gods and heroes. Above all is this true for Indians: 
he is no longer an Indian, whatever his birth, who 
can stand before the Trimurti at Elephanta,not say¬ 
ing “ But so did I will it! So shall I will it.” Not only 
for Indians, however; for this Indian art of the 7th 
or 8th century is not merely an Indian dream, but 
also a dream of humanity—humanity that sooner or 
later will acknowledge in the same words the signi¬ 
ficance of all great art. It will be perceived that the 
world-will has nowhere utterly failed of its purpose: 
and he will be no citizen of the future world who re¬ 
gards anyone of its clear expressions as meaningless 
for him. 

That which is rarest and most universal in the 
classic Indian art is its supreme transparency. I can¬ 
not think of any works in which the movement of 
the spirit shines more radiantly than in such images 
as the Elura Shiva (fig. 30) or the Avalokiteshvara 
59 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
of Ceylon (fig. 28). Their gesture seems to express 
an eternal youth; such a shapeis theirs, as some most 
ancient and gracious spirit might assume, vouchsaf¬ 
ing vision to a worshipper. And it is the same all- 
embracing vision that appears in the most awful and 
tamasic forms ; in this art Bhairava was not yet re¬ 
pulsive, nor Kali ugly. Those who had this vision 
saw one Protean life behind all Names and Forms— 
they worshipped Death and Life alike, for they knew 
that That which pervades this universe is change¬ 
less and imperishable, 

“ Its seat of dalliance men may see, 

Itself no man beholdeth.” 

Perceiving this, how could sensuous loveliness 
bind them fast, or terror affright them ? Thus they 
were not afraid either of Love or Death, but played 
their part without dismay or elation; and this Free¬ 
dom is the secret of the power in their art. 

Because of its freedom, we must not suppose that 
this art obeyed onlyunwritten laws: on the contrary, 
there is every reason to believe that thoseexactrules 
which are usually supposedto fetter inspiration were 
very implicitly obeyed. We know that in Japan the 
most apparently spontaneous work was the product 
of a very minute and highly formalised technique; 
and perhaps it is always just the most profound in- 
60 





SCULPTURE 

spiration whichnotonly can utilise, but demands pre¬ 
cise formulas— 

“Ideas cannot begiven but in their minutely appropriate words, 
nor can a design be made without its minutely appropriate exe¬ 
cution.” 

The conscious concrete ideal, the canon, of the Skil- 
paskastras, to which Sukracharya refers, first forbids 
such anatomical statements as are irrelevant for the 
artist’spurpose, and secondly, tabulatesin a very con¬ 
venient manner the proportions of an ideal figure, 
or, more strictly speaking, several sets of such pro¬ 
portions according to the kind of figure to be made. 
An account of one must suffice, the “nine-face” sys¬ 
tem used for most images of gods. Here the face 
(from the chin to the roots of the hair) is taken as the 
unit, the height of an ideal figure being nine times as 
much: the trunk is three such units, the thigh and 
shank two each, while the neck, knee, and height of 
the ankle complete another. The hands and feet are 
each one unit in length. The measurements go into 
much greater detail, useful only for colossal figures, 
for the construction of which a very ingenious sys¬ 
tem of plumb-lines was devised. The net result of 
all these written and unwritten rules is that the typi¬ 
cal figure has broad shoulders and a slender waist 
(like a lion), smooth limbs, tapering and slender fing- 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

ers.long arms,adeep navel, and large and long eyes. 
These ideals are also closely approached in the finest 
type of living figure, such as one may see every day 
on the ghats at Trivenl or Benares. 

There is one peculiarity of Hindu and Mahayana 
Buddhist art which has excited the resentment of 
many, and is apt to distract even the discerning. This 
is the representation, in certain types, of figures with 
four or more arms and two or more faces ( e.g . figs, 
i, 34 a, 40, 50, 54, 56, 66 in this work). It should 
suffice to point out that such combinations, whether 
of complex human forms, or of human and winged 
or animal forms, have been used by the greatest art¬ 
ists of all ages. If such conventions are intrinsic¬ 
ally bad art, then with the Indian works are equally 
condemned the Egyptian Sphinx, the Grecian Nike, 
and the Mediseval angels—to saynothingof modern 
works such as Rodin’s “ Centaur." In truth, how¬ 
ever, the good and bad in acollectionof I ndian images 
are to be distinguished in more subtle ways than by 
a mere counting of arms. Such constructions are 
only faults when they no longer facilitate the expres¬ 
sion of life. 

It is characteristic of Indian sculpture almost 
throughout that its forms are healthy. The ascetic 
is indeed represented as emaciated: but the shapes 
62 







'• • .i' A'V 

SCULPTURE 

. * the gods afford abundant evidence of constant de- 
light in the firmness and smoothness of flesh. This 
voluptuousness becomes most impressive in the most 
spiritual works; for these combine all the slender el¬ 
egance and spiritual grace of Gothic with the full¬ 
est possible development of physical forms— 

“The more abstract the truth you wish to teach, the more 
must you allure the senses to it.” 

Even in the best of Gothic art there are traces of a 
:onflict, a duality of soul and body. Ifin manyworks 
jf ancient Greece there is no such conflict, this is 
oecause the body alone is presented: but in the best 
jf the Indian sculpture flesh and spirit are insepar¬ 
able. A true sesthetic monism, like a perfected mor- 
dity, does not distinguish form from matter, or mo- 
ive from action. 

In nearly all Indian art there runs a vein of deep 
;ex-mysticism. Not merely are female forms felt to 
J be equally appropriate with male to adumbrate the 
majesty of the Over-soul, but the interplay of all 
psychic and physical sexual forces is felt in itself to 
^e religious. Already we find in one of the earliest 
Upanishads , 

“For just as one who dallies with a beloved wife has no con¬ 
sciousness of outer and inner, so the spirit also, dallying with the 
Self-whose-essence-is-knowledge, has no consciousness of outer 
and inner.” 


63 



ARTS Of CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

Here is no thought that passion is degrading—as 1 
some Christian and Buddhist monks and many mod- ' 
ern feminists have regarded it,—but a frank recog¬ 
nition of the close analogy between amorous and 
religious ecstasy. How rich and varied must have 
been the emotional experience of a society to which, 
life could appear so perfectly transparent, and where 
at the same time the most austere asceticism was a 
beloved ideal for all those who sought to pass over * 
life’s Wandering! It is thus that the imager, speak¬ 
ing always for the race, rather than of personal idio¬ 
syncrasies, set side by side on his cathedral walls the 
yogi and the apsara, the saint and the ideal courte¬ 
san ; accepting life as he saw it, he interpreted all its 
phenomena with perfect catholicity of vision. Per¬ 
haps for Western readers the best introduction to 
such Indian modes of thought is to be found in the ' 
writings of William Blake, who in one and the same 
poem could write 

“ Never, never 1 return, f 

. Still for victory I burn,” 

and 

“ Let us agree to give up love 
And root up the infernal grove.” 

He, in his day, could have said with the Bengali poet 
of our own, that “what I have seen is unsurpassable,” 
regarding with equal enthusiasm the Path of Pursuit 
64 




SCULPTURE 

and the Path of Return,—Affirmation and Denial. 

The Indian sex-symbolism assumes two main 
forms, the recognition of which will assist thestudent 
of art: first, thedesireand unionof individuals, sacra¬ 
mental in its likeness to the union of the individual 
soul with God,—this is the love of the herd-girls^for 
Krishna; and second, the creation of the world, mani¬ 
festation, Ma, as the fruit of the union of male and 
female cosmic principles —purusha and shakti. 

The beautiful erotic art of Konarak clearly signi¬ 
fies the quickening power of the Sun, perhaps not 
; .vithout an element of sympathetic magic. Popular 
explanations of such figures are scarcely less absurd 
than the strictures of those who condemn them from 
the standpoint of modern conventional propriety. 
They appear in Indian temple sculpture, now rarely, 
now frequently, simply because voluptuous ecstasy 
has also its due place in life; and those who inter¬ 
preted life were artists. To them such figures ap¬ 
peared appropriate equally-for the happiness they 
represented and for their deeper symbolism. It is 
/noteworthy, in this connection, that such figures,and 
indeed all the sculptured embroidery of Indian tem¬ 
ples, is confined to the exterior walls of the shrine, 
which is absolutely plain within : such is the veil of 
Nature, empirical life, enshrining One, not contract- 

65 5 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

ed or identified into variety. Those to whom all such 
symbols drawn from life itself appeared natural and 
right, would have shrunk indisgust from the more 
opaque erotic art of modern European salons. 

While Gupta, art is mainly Buddhist, the classic 
period is also that of the Hindu renaissance. For a 
time the two so closely related faiths were represent- 
edside by side, andthereafter, outside Bengal, Nepal, 
and Ceylon, only the Brahmanical forms prevail. The 
same Gupta art which developed into Indian classic, 
was the dynamic factor in the formation of the Tang 
Buddhist sculpture of China, and the Nara painting ' 
of Japan,,as well as of the great monuments of Java. 
Thus not merely in India, but throughout Eastern 
Asia, the 7th and 8th centuries were ages of intense 
and widespread aesthetic activity, of which the seeds 
had been sown in India of the 5th and 6th centuries. 

From these digressions let us return to the actual 
art. 

The most typical examplesof the classic sculpture 
are from Elura, Mamallapuram, Ceylon, and Java. 
One of the finest of these is the rock-cut Kapila at 
Anuradhapura (fig. 31), beside the Isurumuniya vi- 1 
hara : the sage is represented as a man of supreme 
dignity, seated in the “ pose of kingly ease,” gazing 
outwardsfrom hiscave,asif onthe watch for the com- 
66 



SCULPTURE 

ing of the sons of Sagara; this outwardly directed 
interest reminds us that this is the figure of a man, 
and no god, without detracting from its supreme 
grandeur. 

Quite as large in design, but more spiritual, is the 
little Avalokiteshvara (Buddhist Saviour), also from. 
Ceylon (fig. 28). This figure, so wise and so eter¬ 
nally young, is treated with complete simplicity and 
graciousness: the right hand is raised in the mode 
of teaching, the crown and ribbon are symbols of 
his divine rank, and the seated figure in the crown 
represents the Dhyani Buddha from whom the 
Bodhisattva emanates as one of his many modes. 

A great contrast in subject, but scarcely less im¬ 
pressive as a work of most consummate craftsman¬ 
ship, is the very material figure of Jambhala or Kuv- 
era, god of wealth (fig. 29), with his mongoose and 
money-pots, also from Ceylon and probably contem¬ 
porary with the Avalokiteshvara. This Jambhala, so 
plump and firm and cheerful, is a very proper god of 
trade, as trade once was: unfortunately in these days, 
his throne has been usurped by rakskasas. 

The figures of Shiva and Parvati in acomposition 
at Elura (fig. 30) are very like the Ceylon Avalo¬ 
kiteshvara in grace of movement and smoothness of 
modelling: they are seated on Kailas, with Ravana 
67 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

beneath, endeavouring to root up the mountain— 
Parvatl feels a tremor, and turns to throw her arms 
about her Lord, who presses down themountain with 
his foot. Another important work at Elura in which 
more violent movement is rendered with equal power, 
is the very damaged Narasimha slaying Hiranya- 
kashipu, in the cave of the Ten Avatars. 

A different kind of sculpture, most impressive in 
majesty and boldness of design, is represented by 
the Trimurti at Elephanta (fig. 33); of all classic In¬ 
dian sculpture the most easily accessible. The heads 
of this triple image are supreme renderings of an 
ethnic type that is still familiar. The suggestion of 
absolute repose veiling a profound inward life is con¬ 
veyed equally in each of the three masks, though 
these are representative of carefully differentiated 
types of character. 

Of equal rank with this triple mask at Elephanta is 
the recumbent Narayana at Mamallapuram (fig. 32). 
N arayana, worshipped by Lakshml, rests in the in¬ 
terval between two daily creations, on the serpent 
Ananta (“Infinite’’): two threatening Asuras stand 
to the right. At Mamallapuram, too, there is a very 
spirited rendering of a battle of Durga with the 
Asuras, and many sculptures of animals of unsur¬ 
passed grandeur, tenderness, and humour. 

68 



SCULPTURE 

All these images, without hesitation or awkward¬ 
ness, or any superfluous statement, by their action 
perfectly express the passion that animates them. 
The classic art does not rapidly decline after the 
8th century ; its spirit continues to inspire a number 
of slightly later works, while locally a fine tradition 
is maintained to quite a late date. The great Madras 
Nataraja, perhaps of the ioth century (there are 
others of all dates up to the present day) we have 
already noticed (p. 17). A smaller and less familiar 
copper image (fig. 34 a) is of Mahisha-mardinI, Durga 
slaying the demon Mahisha, of the 9th century, from 
Java, now in the Museum at Leiden: here it is seen 
how nobly the many arms, even of a tamasic form, 
can be used to reinforce the movement of the whole 
figure, in a pattern of extreme subtlety. This image 
of an avenging goddess moves with a sadness and 
tenderness that are as far removed from anger as 
heaven from hell. It is in this isolation and detach- 
mentthat such figures most fully voice the I ndian the¬ 
ory of life: if such a text as the Chandl Parva of the 
Markandeya Purana means but little to a Western 
student,an image such as this certainly reveals much 
of what it could mean for a Hindu. It would indeed 
scarcely be too much to say that the study of the art, 
side by side with that of sruti and smriti , is absol- 
69 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

utely essential for a full understanding of Hinduism. 
We shall see subsequently that this is as true of later 
Vaishnava painting as of classic Shaivite sculpture. 

Another Javanese image of great interest is the 
Ganesha of fig. 36. Here we perceive that the most 
bizarre motif, treated in harmony with the spirit of a 
great tradition, can become expressive of profound 
wisdom. 

J ava is rich in other beautiful images: one more, 
selected from these, is the Dhyani Buddha of fig. 35, 
perhaps of the 9th century. The most striking of the 
Javanese sculptures, however, are not the single 
works, but the long series of reliefs which line the 
procession paths (extending for nearly two miles) of 
the great Buddhist monument at Borobodur. These 
sculptures illustrate, not a complex mythology, but 
the simple events of the jatakas and histories of the 
life of Buddha,and areuniformlygentle intheirsenti- 
ment, and suave and full in form. These beautiful re¬ 
liefs are by far the best of Indian sculptures dealing 
with events of ordinary human life, and as such offer, 
perhaps, an easier introduction to Oriental art than 
the more learned works. No criticism could be better 
than Mr Havell’s, who writes that each group and 
figure is “ absolutely true and sincere in expression 
of face, gesture, and pose of body; and the actions 
70 






SCULPTURE 

which link the various groups and single figures to¬ 
gether are strongly and simply told, without striving 
for effect—it was so, because so it could only be.” 

The forms retain a fullness which seems to link 
them to Gupta rather than classic I ndian types: and 
perhaps the nearest parallels in I ndiaare tobe foundin 
such sculptures as those of the Badami caves. In par¬ 
ticular, in these Javanese works, the waist is never 
so greatly attenuated, nor the limbs so slender as in 
classic Indian; it would seem that the Javanese art¬ 
ists, who perhaps came from Western India (Guja¬ 
rat?), after the first beginning, developed their own 
art quite independently of the later phases in India. 

It is only possible here to name a few of the most 
famous separate subjects of these reliefs: the figure 
of Buddha crossing the sea; the figure of a dancer 
before a king (fig. 37); the head of a Bodhisattva; 
the arrival of an overseas vessel (fig. 141); and a 
group beside a village well. 

Indian art in Java ended with the Muhammadan 
conquests in the 14th century. Meanwhile, Indian 
builders and sculptors had built the great temples of 
Cambodia and carved many splendid figures in an¬ 
other style, again of Indian origin, butindependently 
developed. Theseworks areverystronglyimpressed 
with a peculiar ethnic type(fig. 38),more Mongolian 



ARTS © CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
than anything in India, but still reminiscent of the 
greatTrimurti at Elephanta. Thework inCambodia 
was interrupted in the 12th century and never re¬ 
sumed. Burma and Siam were also Indianised at an 
early period, and remain Buddhist to this day. The 
Buddhist art of China derived at first from Bactria 
through T urkestan, afterwards (4th century) direct¬ 
ly from India, and maintained a hieratic tradition 
there and in Japan until the 14th century, when the 
Zen thought gave to Buddhist art a new impulse. 

We can now return to India, and study the mediae¬ 
val sculpture, of which some is still Buddhist, but the 
greater part H indti. One of the most importantgroups 
isthat of thesouthern Shaivitebronzes, includingthe 
Nataraja(figs. 1 and 52) already described, and many 
laterexamples. Anumberoftheserepresentthegreat 
Tamil saints of the centuries preceding the 10th, 
Manikka Vaqagar (fig. 47), Apparswami, Sundara 
Murti Swami(fig. 48),Tiru Jnana Sambandha Swa- 
mi; fine examples of these have been found at Polon- 
naruva. A figure of Hanuman.from Ceylon (fig. 49), 
now atSouth Kensington, isstrangely touching in its 
combination of semi-divine intelligence with animal 
devotion and irrepressible vitality; he wears a grav¬ 
ity not altogether incompatiblewith mischievous ad¬ 
venture. With these should perhaps be grouped the 
72 



SCULPTURE 

beautiful figure of a sage, at Polonnaruva, miscalled 
a likeness of Parakrama Bahu the Great (fig. 34); it 
may well be earlier. 

About three centuries later are the very beautiful 
brassportrait figures of Krishnaraya of Vijayanagar 
and his queens (151 o-15 29 a.d. ) (fig. 51). Dravidian 
sculpture in stone, most often as part of the great 
monolithic pillars of the “thousand pillared halls,” 
continuestoflourish up to theend of the 17th century; 
but the later work, though very highly finished, often 
lacks tenderness and aims rather to express a demo¬ 
niac power. 

I n the north we meet with much excellent Buddhist 
sculptureof the classic and later periods in Beharand 
Bengal, including a number of as yet little known 
bronzes. The gracious head of Tara (shakti of Av- 
alokiteshvara) from Sarnath (fig. 40) belongs to the 
best type of mediaeval Buddhist sculpture under the 
Pala kings of Bengal. A fragment (fig. 39) preserv¬ 
ed at Gwaliar is but one of the many beautiful im¬ 
ages of youthful women that the mediaeval art af¬ 
fords. Two headless figures from Sarnath (figs. 41, 
42) admirably illustrate ideal Kshatriya and Brah¬ 
man types. 

The Buddhist tradition has survived in Nepal to 
the present day, showing marked decadence only per- 
73 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

haps in the last century. From Nepal it passed with 
slight modification to Tibet. Many works in Indian 
and European collections are regarded as Tibetan, 
but are properly of Nepalese origin, and even the 
truly Tibetan works are mostly due to the activity 
of N epalese craftsmen settled near Lhasa. Early and 
very fine Nepalese works are still frequently met 
with. The standing Avalokiteshvara (fig. 57), re¬ 
miniscent of the painted Bodhisattva at Ajanta (fig. 
60), is perhaps older than the 12th century. TheCal- 
cutta school of art collection is rich in fine examples, 
of which a Trimurti (fig. 56) and a Bodhisattva (?) 
(fig. 54) are illustrated here. One of a pair of beau¬ 
tiful and gracious hands is reproduced in fig. 5. Figs. 
53 and 55 are details from one of the dual images, in 
which the close connection, almost identity, of Tan- 
tric Buddhist with Shaivite art, is clearly exhibited; 
the embracing figures are essentially those of Shiva 
and Parvati, or more generally, Purushaand Shakti, 
while the trampled dwarf (who has himself the attri¬ 
butes of the Shiva by whose foot he is destroyed) we 
have already seen (fig. 1) to be an old Hindu motif. 
It is noteworthy that the Nepalese imagers also 
occasionally rendered Vaishnava subjects, such as 
Vishnu, or Krishna and Radha. 

Much of the best mediaeval Hindu sculpture is 
74 






SCULPTURE 

from Orissa.. It would be hard to find anywhere in 
the world a more perfect example of the adaptation 
of sculpture to architecture, than is afforded by the 
temple of the Sun at Konarak. It is remarkable how 
like are the facades of these Orissan cathedrals, their 
statues inseparable from the framework of the build¬ 
ing itself, to the contemporary churches of Western 
Europe; without, of course, any possible direct con¬ 
nections. It is one of those many examples where 
likerequirements and intentions have stimulated the 
discovery ofsimilar principles of craftsmanship. The 
best Konarak figures are characterised by an exqui¬ 
site smoothness and vitality. The sculptures of wo¬ 
men are frankly the work of lovers (figs. 43,44). But 
it is perhaps the animals that are most impressive; 
the Led Horse (fig. 46) is of unsurpassed grandeur; 
some of the smaller horses drawing the temple on its 
huge wheels, express a mood of sadness almost as 
' profound as that of the Javanese Mahisha-mardinx. 
There is an important group of a Guru and Disciples 
in the Indian Museum at South Kensington, for- 
, merly miscalled Nepalese, but almost certainly from 
Konarak. 

In Ceylon the hieratic sculpture in metal, stone, 
or brick rapidly declines after the 14th century or ev¬ 
en earlier; in the 18th only its formal traditions sur- 
75 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

vive, but even the most awkward of the later works 
according to the canon, are preferable to the lifeless 
alabaster images now frequently imported from Bur¬ 
ma. On the other hand, some of the mediaeval and 
more recent wooden images and modern Sinhalese 
<5#A-figures and devil-dancers’masks retain the spir¬ 
it of much earlier work and merit careful study. 

Good examples of mediaeval wood sculpture are 
shown in fig. 45, representing the South Indian and 
Ceylonese goddess Pattini (a manifestation of Par- 
vati), and her husband, or perhaps a naga king. A 
date as early as the 11 th century has been suggested 
for these.* 

In Madras and Tanjore there are still skilful ima¬ 
gers and founders as well as learned architects. Cer¬ 
tain copper figures recently produced are probably 
as good as any of the last two centuries. 

I n northern I ndia there is little modern workof high 
value. Aflourishingschoolofcraftsmen injaipur pro¬ 
duces creditable images of Hindu gods in white mar¬ 
ble, greatly in demand throughout Hindustan. One 
living Jaipur artist, Mali Ram, deserves mention for 
hisexcellentworkmanship in stone, wood.and metal, 
ranging from engraved seals to large marble images 
and metal masks. The realistic terra-cotta images 

* Parker, Ancient Ceylon , p. 631. 

76 



SCULPTURE 

of Lucknow are remarkable only for th 
skill in photographic reproduction, wit 
preference fordiseased andfamine-stricl 
The school of art style of Bombay is p: 
ian. The work of the Calcutta school in 
less interesting than the painti 




(BLANK PAGE-NO CONTENTS) 



CHAPTER THREE 

PAINTING 



(BLANK PAGE-NO CONTENTS) 



CHAPTER THIRD ’ PAINTING 
PAINTINGS ARE EASILY DESTROYED 
by hatural causes or deliberate injuries; and what 
remains of Indian painting cannot be the hundredth 
or even the thousandth part of what once existed. 
We cannot,however,doubt that the art was continu¬ 
ously practised from pre-Buddhist times to the pre¬ 
sent day. Frescoes (patibhana cittam, or “conver¬ 
sation pictures,” i.e. love scenes) are mentioned in 
the oldest Pali literature: these were condemned by 
Buddha, who permitted only the representation of 
“wreaths and creepers.” A picture gallery (cittagara) 
belonging to KingPasenadiof Kosalaisalso referred 
to. The Bharhut sculptures imply the existence of a 
contemporary school of painting, and actual remains 
of the 2nd or ist century b.c. exist in caves at Ram- 
garh in Orissa. At Ajanta, however, there exists a 
far more important series of paintings, executed on 
the walls of the excavated viharas, ranging from the 
ist to the middleof the 7th century a.d. Thus, many 
of the best works are of the, Gupta period, while the 
latest, in Caves I. and XVII., fall just within the 
classic age. There are also paintings of the 6th cen¬ 
tury at Bagh in Malwa, and of the 5th at Slgiri in 
Ceylon. From 650 to 1550 A.n. the^e survive no 
remains of Indian painting, except a few Nepalese 
Buddhist miniatures and some fragments in Ceylon. 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

After i550weai'(Sible topick uponcemorethethread 
of the old traditions, in the Rajput painting of Raj- 
putana and the Panjab Himalayas, the book-covers 
of Orissan MSS., and popular and hieratic wall paint¬ 
ing in all parts of India and Ceylon; while there also 
appears the new eclectic style ol the Mughals. 

The paintings of Ajanta, though much damaged, 
still form the greatest extant monument of ancient 
painting and the only school except Egyptian in 
which a dark-ski nned race is taken as the normal type. 
One does not know whether to wonder most at their 
advanced technique, or at the emotional intensity 
that informs these works, as if with a life very near 
our own—for they are as modern in their draught- 
manship as in sentiment. They belong to the same 
courtly-religious culture as that which finds expres¬ 
sion in the works of Kalidasa, and show the same 
deep understanding of the hearts of men and women 
and animals that has given to Shakuntala her im¬ 
mortality, and shines even through the artificialities 
of Bana. 

The Ajanta art, though it deals with religious sub¬ 
jects, is too free to be spoken of as hieratic; it is ra¬ 
ther discovering than following the types that were 
to remain prepotent through so manylatercenturies. 
The gracious movement, the serene self-possession 
82 



PAINTING - 

of these noblefigures, the love that enfolds their every 
gesture, their profound sadness even in moments of 
greatestjoy—asif all their laughter were neartotears 
—produce an impression never to be forgotten in 
the mind of one who stands for the first time in these 
dark halls thus hung with painted tapestry. This is 
a profoundly cultivated art; everywhere touched by 
ardour and tenderness, but expressingthese deepest 
feelings of distress or gladness within the limits of 
a life of closely regulated etiquette. So deeply emo¬ 
tional it is, that this reserve is an essential part of it; 
passion and shyness are inseparable qualities. Never 
in the world was any art less sentimental. 

The life depicted is that of earthly or heavenly 
courts and palaces; there is no such transfiguration 
of the everyday lifeof villages and forests as appears 
in the Rajput works; but the kings and queens, or 
gods and goddesses, are here endowed with such 
affections and sincerity, such childlike simplicity and 
dignity,as it is no longer easy for us to associate with 
the lifeof courts and modern aristocracies. No doubt 
that then (as up to the present day, wherever the past 
conditions survive) the peasant was himself an aris¬ 
tocrat, and spoke as elegantly as the courtier; but 
here there is a greater miracle, for we are reminded 
that beneath the forms of etiquette and cultivation, 

8 3 



ARTS & CR A rr ■> r ‘1 ' ' ' 1 1 YLON 

the movement Ttho spoil mg i f ^ *’ mid swift 
as in any more naive cultu. o A uic '.oik. It is not 
only the poor, but also die uch, d.eu. arc at for the 
kingdom of heaven, aie indeed gi cutest m hea¬ 
ven. This is fill 1 and min ihmuiy democratic 
theory of equality; a condition vvheie the most and 
the least cultivate Haum » mon crurtesy, and 
kings and peasants are (squally contented and un¬ 
abashed. Perhaps .Ins id'a ,f~ mtocac) also ex¬ 
isted in 13th-century Europe; at least, to find a par¬ 
allel in Western art, fin the errna nents of ardour 
and tenderness, one must go back to Chartres and 
•the Italian primitives, with whom, indeed, the Indi¬ 
an artists have ahvavs so much in common. 

The Chhadanta jalaka, or Birth-story of the Six- 
tusked Elephant, is one the most beautiful of all 
Buddhist legends: but the painting, in Cave XVII., 
tells it with a grief more poignant than any words, 
and a most profound realisation of the untold suffer¬ 
ing that is the fruit of ill-will. On one side stands 
the great white elephant; (fig-. 63), an incarnation 
of him who was to become the Buddha—of whom 
it is said that there is no spot on earth where he has 
not sacrificed his body for the sake of creatures— 
towering like a snowy mountain above the hunter, 
for whom he cuts away his own tusks. Upon the 
' 84 





PAINTING 

other side, in a pavilion, lies the young queen who 
had once been the Bodhisattva’s wife—offended at 
a little thing, and now seeking her revenge. She is 
very young, and gentle and tender-hearted, and sends 
her hunters out to bring these tusks for her (she can¬ 
not behappy without them),as lightly as the modern 
woman sends her emissaries into the equatorial 
forests and the polar wastes to bring her back the 
spoils of death. She is full of impatience for the 
huntersto return; butwhen the successful one comes 
back at last, bringing the tokens of him whom she 
knewinherheart tobe the noblestof allliving things, 
then she is not glad, but is crushed by such over¬ 
whelming grief that it breaks her child’s heart and 
ends her life. 

The great figure in Cave I. (fig. 60) probably re¬ 
presents the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, # or pos¬ 
sibly the departure of Prince Siddhartha from his 
palace (“TheGreat Renunciation”). In either case, 
its motif is that of agreat Being turning away from all 
attachments to seek a cure for the world’s sorrow. 
These figures are treated with the same supreme 
command of gesture and largeness of design that we 
find inthe bestof the 8th-centurysculpture. Itseems, 

* The rocky background perhaps indicating Mi. Potabka; die 
chief female figure a shakti. 


85 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA £? CEYLON 

indeed, as if the full development of painting a little 
preceded that of the finest; sculpture. 

We know from literary references that portrait 
painting, though expressly condemned in connec¬ 
tion with religious art, was an admired accomplish¬ 
ment practised by princes and others, and even by 
women. And amongst the Ajanta figures there are 
some which we cannot but regard as portraits, or 
which at least could very well be portraits. But these, 
as we should expect, are portraits in the old Asiatic 
sense, not to be judged by the accuracy of their like¬ 
ness to an individual at one particular moment, but 
as expressing the character of an age; for it is this 
character, and not the mere peculiarities, which the 
great artist perceives through love and insight in 
every individual -whom he studies. Perhaps there 
could not anywhere be found a more expressive ren¬ 
dering of the mystery of woman, or a more intimate 
revelation of a sensuous and sensitive nature, than 
in the Ajanta fragment of which the outlines are re¬ 
produced in fig. 61 ; and some others like it, from 
the great “ Ceylon Battle.'' Some such portrait as 
this, King Dushyanta had of Shakuntala: 

“ A graceful arch of brows above great eyes.” 

The technique of all these works is of great in¬ 
terest for the student of the materials of the painter’s 
86 




PAINTING 

craft and the history of painting. The wall was pre¬ 
pared by applying a mixture of clay, cow-dung and 
pulverised trap-rock, sometimes also mixed with rice- 
husks, to the rough excavated surface of the rock. 
This first layer of £to f inch was overlaid with a skin 
of fine white polished plaster, coveringalso the whole 
interior of the cave, including the sculptures. The 
processof painting (to argue back from modernprac- 
tice in India) differed chiefly from Italian fresco in 
the greater length of time the Indian lime remains 
damp, and in the fact that the surface, after colour¬ 
ing, is burnished with a small trowel, by which pro¬ 
cess the colour is deeply ingrained. The first brush 
work is “a bold red line drawing on the white plaster 
. . . next comes a thinnish terra-verde monochrome, 
showingsomeof the red through it; then the local col¬ 
our; then a strengthening of the outlines with blacks 
and browns, giving great decision, but also a certain 
flatness; last a little shading if necessary” (Herring- 
ham). Perhaps the most noteworthy technical pecu¬ 
liarity of the work at A_janta is that it is essentially 
an art of brush drawing, depending for its expres¬ 
sion mainly on the power and swiftness of its out¬ 
lines and not at all on any attempt at producing an 
illusionof relief. The most difficult problems of per¬ 
spective are attacked with reckless courage (fig. 6 2). 

87 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
There are many quite distinct styles of drawing of 
which the relations and history have never been ad¬ 
equately studied. 

At Sigiri in Ceylon there are a few paintings of 
the 5th century in a style very near to Ajanta, re¬ 
presenting half figures of queens or goddesses (fig. 
64) with servants carrying flowers. The basis and 
technique are also practically the same as at Ajanta. 

We know very little of mediaeval Buddhist paint¬ 
ing from actual Indian remains. We have only the 
painted covers andillustrationsofafewNepaleseMS. 
(figs. 65, 66). Wall-paintings, perhaps of the 12th 
century, have been found at Polonnaruva in Ceylon. 

It will be seen that by a fortunate chance we are 
fairly well acquainted with thecourtly Buddhistpaint- 
ing of the Gupta and early classic period; though the 
art seems to be still developing, and perhaps even 
finer work has been lost. But we have no remains 
atallof contemporary Brahmanical art—scenes from 
the epics, or paintings of the devas, such as a Benoal 
king once drew with magic chalk upon his palace 
walls—nor of any paintings on wood or cloth: nor 
of the popular folk-art 'which must have existed side 
by side with the high culture. We find the traces 
of these, however, when we recover the indigenous 
tradition a thousand years later. 

8 $ 








PAINTING 

In Rajputana and the Panjab Himalayas we find 
surviving, even into the 19th century, a school of re¬ 
ligious art which is partly hieratic and partly of folk- 
inspiration. In its pure forms—figs. 70, 71 may be 
taken as typical,—this art is essentiallyclassic; it de¬ 
pends for its language upon fundamental forms and 
significant relations of mass and space, and for its 
content, upon whatever in life is universal, while it 
makes no study of transient expressions and individ¬ 
ual peculiarities. Where it departs from this sim- 
plicityand seeks for the picturesque, or where it por¬ 
trays individuals rather than types, we can recognise 
foreign influence. Thus Rajput painting contrasts in 
every way with the secular Mughal art with which it 
is largely contemporary. That secular and profes¬ 
sional school was an affair of but two hundred years; 
but the hieratic and folk-art takes us back through 
many centuries, further even than Ajanta, to that 
“Early Asiatic,” of which a Western phase has been 
preserved in the remains of ancient Crete. 

In sentiment and method the Rajput art presents 
analogies with the contemporary music, its chief 
motifs are traditional themes, upon which each art¬ 
ist improvised more or less freely. Thus, as in ail 
national and long-enduring art, a tradition takes the 
place of individual supreme genius, but each, artist 
89 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
must exercise much more invention than mere imit¬ 
ation, if bis works are to be, as here they were, infus¬ 
ed with life. 

Rajput painting, though not a youngtradition, has 
all the intensityof primitive art. It is largely inspired 
by the impassioned Vaishnava poetry, which it so 
often illustrates. Its beauty is perfectly naive, not 
intended to be picturesque, never sentimental, but 
inevitably resulting from theclear expression of deep 
feeling. Much of it is folk-art, drawing its imagery 
from, the daily life of villagers and herdsmen. What 
thecourtierwouldhavedespised is everywhere trans¬ 
figured by deep love. In the contemporary Mughal 
art, emperors and courtiers pose for their portraits 
very consciously and proudly. But the herd-girls of 
the Paharl drawings have eyes for none but Krish¬ 
na ; the singers and the dancers are as much ab¬ 
sorbed in their service and their art as any of those 
at Borobodur : none are aware that they are over¬ 
looked. There is no more single-minded painting 
in the world. 

The paintings fall into two groups, th eRajastkam, 
from Rajputana and especially Jaipur; and the Pa- 
ha,i% or Mountain school, from the Panjab hill-states, 
especially Kangra, Chamba, and Punch. 

Amongst the earliest works is th e Death of Bhzsh- 
9 ° 




PAINTING 

ma (fig. 69), which seems to preserve the composi¬ 
tion characteristic of the old Buddhist parinirvanas. 
Bhlshma, revered instructor of both Pandavas and 
Kurus, fought on the side of the latter, in the Great 
War. Weary of the slaughter, he elected at last to 
meet his own fate, and fell wounded by many arrows. 
As he lay on his bed of arrows, a divine nature pos¬ 
sessed him ; while he lay, “ expectant of his hour, 
resembling in splendour the setting sun, like to a 
fire about to go out,” he expounded, before Krishna, 
Duryodhana and the five Pandavas, all the duties 
of men of the various classes. The original drawing 
is of great delicacy and purity of colour. There will 
be seen on the left, the seven risk is, including N arada 
with his vlna.) behind Bhlshma’s head, Krishna, with 
four arms, a club, a chank and a lotus flower; then 
Duryodhana; and on the right, the five Pandavas. 

The Death of Bhlshma is probably as old as the 
16th century. Most of the Rajput pictures which are 
well preserved belong to the 18th century, but all. 
are difficult to date, as there is no rapid change of 
style, and the pictures are never signed or dated. 11 
is much easier to separate them geographically. A. 
typical Paharl (Kangra) work of the early iSth cen¬ 
tury is the Kallya Damana of fig. 70; here Krishna 
hasovercomethe hydra Kallya, and while hand and 
91 



ARTS G? CRAFTS OF TT r DIA 5? CEYLON 

Yashodaon the river ban! st « r uou= for his safety, 
the hydra’s beautiful wi\ i c 1 e imng low to kiss 
the feet of the Lord of tL 'Vo hi tr pray for their 
husband’s life. Here, as a! v'n s <1 Re Paharl draw¬ 
ings, and the Epic and Puramc literature, “every act 
consumes the whole vital energy ol being, every pose 
is the mirror of the soul in an imperious moment.” * 
Two distinct types of movement, on water and on 
land, are clearly distinguished. The feminine type 
that these Kangra painters loved, so beautiful and 
passionate and shy, is one entirely true, and expres¬ 
sive of the race. We are reminded again of the Greek 
vases. For these Rajput painters too “ont legue au 
monde un reve dart, oil la pensee artistique s’est dp- 
anchee en formules larges et generates, d’ou le pas¬ 
saged et l’accidental dtaient exclus. , . Dans la vie 
familiere elle-meme jamais il ne vous presentera un 
homme en particulier, un individu. . . Ce sera tou- 
jours l’idee de race, l'idee d’humanite, 1’idde de vie 
dans son ensemble que vous rencontrerez dans ses 
plus modestes ebauches.”!' Educated by such art, 
it is still easy to discover a like perfection and tran¬ 
quillity in the features and the movements of living 
women of the folk, in the Panjab and the Himalayas. 

* B.P.Sitaramayya and K.Hanumantha Rao, National Education. 

t E. Pettier, La Peinture Industricllc chcz ks Grccs. 

92 








PAINTING 

In perhaps no other part of the world has the tradi¬ 
tion of ancient art survived so late. 

Thepicture of Rama, Slta,andLakshman(fig. 75) 
—their forest exile—belongs to the local Paharl 
school of Punch; a naive simplicity and forceare here, 
somewhat exceptionally, united with tenderness and 
mystery. A picture of Shiva and ParvatT (fig. 76), 
as the folk imagination sees them wandering or rest- 
ingin theglades of the Himalayas, and here besought 
by Bhagiratha (thej/oft making tapas beneath) to 
permit the Ganges to fall to earth from the Great 
God’s mattedlocks, isagainatypical Paharl (Kangra) 
drawing, with a brilliancy of colouringrecallingstain- 
ed glass or enamel. It is dramatic, if perhaps uncon¬ 
scious, symbolism that represents the God so near 
to, yet unseen by, his devotee. Such works are sealed 
with absolute conviction; those who drew thus, or 
painted the Divine Herdsman, were realists, know¬ 
ing that in this enchanted world the sudden vision 
of the presence of God awaited them in every cattle¬ 
fold and forest: realists in the deepest sense, for “it is 
not the same tree that the fool and the wise man see. ” 

Thecharacteristics of the Paharl drawing are'veil 
shownalso infig. 74, a detail from an unfinished pict¬ 
ure. All these pictures are in scale much larger than 
their actual size; when greatly enlarged, their true re- 
93 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
lation to an art of wall-painting becomes at once ap¬ 
parent. Though most of the Paharl works are on a 
small scale, the existence of a fresco school could be 
clearly inferredfrom them ; and indeed, wall-painting 
was still practised by the same artists as those who 
executed the small works. Some of the latter actu¬ 
ally show painted walls, and one, a painter at work. 
A coarser art of popular wall-painting and house- 
decoration still flourishes everywhere in India. 

A later Paharl work is another picture of Shiva 
and Parvatl (fig. 77)—a night scene, the Great God 
watching Devi as she sleeps. It is uncertain how 
far the representation of night effects is original in 
Rajput art; they occur in some of the most provincial 
types(Punch),butare rarer in Kangrapictures. The 
subject-matterfrequentlyrequires them: and certain¬ 
ly the dark skies and heavy monsoon clouds, broken 
by flashes of lightning, or crossed by lines of white 
birds, must be indigenous motifs. The Shiva and 
Parvatl of fig. 77 is attributed to a Hindu painter of 
Garhwal, whose ancestors had workedatthe Mughal 
court, but came originally from Rajputana; his case 
is exceptional, and his name, Mola Ram, is almost 
the only one known of all Rajput painters. 

The most striking works of the Jaipur (Rajasthani) 
school are thelarge wall and panel paintings, of which 
94 



PAINTING 

latter there arefineexamplesbelongingtothe Maha- 
rajaofJaipur,and another now belongs to the Maha¬ 
raja of Cossimbazar. The former have never been 
photographed; but I have been fortunate in finding 
in the bazar a number of the original cartoons, drawn 
on paper and most of them pricked for pouncing. 
The coloured frontispiece reproduces a Head of 
Krishna from this series, the whole figure from an- 
otherversionin monochrome being shown in fig. 72. 
A detail from a group of musicians (fig. 71) well il¬ 
lustrates the characteristic Jaipur type, which is very 
distinct from that of the hills, though akin to it in 
simplicity of outline and neglect of relief, akin also 
in the frequent use of temperate curves, often ap¬ 
proximating to a straight line. The complete com¬ 
position from which these details are given repre¬ 
sents a dance of Radha and Krishna, with a chorus 
of musicians on either hand. 

Portraiture is very rare amongst the Pahari draw¬ 
ings; but there are numerous portraitsin Rajputana, 
both large and small, of which fig. 73 is a typical 
example, except that portraits of women are rarer 
than those of men. Some of these reveal as much 
interest in individual character asany of the Mughal 
sketches; but they show less modelling, and have 
simpler and more continuous outlines. The idea of 
95 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
miniature andquite realistic portraiture is almostcer- 
tainly of foreign origin. 

There a.re also amongstthe Jaipur works extreme¬ 
ly beautiful sets of pictures of the ragas and raginzs , 
or musical modes, of'which an example is reproduced 
in fig. 78. These pictures seem to be intended to ex¬ 
press visually the same sentiment as that which is 
appropriate to the mode; some, by the representa¬ 
tion of the mode itself, personified as a minor divin¬ 
ity; others by the representation of a suitable scene. 



Paper stencils for design in two colours, Mathura. 


To be associated with the Rajput drawings are 
the interesting paper stencils of Jaipur, Delhi, and 
Mathura, of which examples are shown in the ac- 
96 




PAINTING 

companying figures. The pictures are made on the 
ground with coloured powders, as manjr stencils as 
colours being required. 



Paper stencil, Mathura. 


Beside the Rajput works, there are at least two 
othernoteworthyschools of Hindu painting,those of 
Orissa and Tanjore. The Orissan style is known at 
present only by paintings on the wooden covers of 
VaishnavaMSS. of the x 6th and 17th centuries. The 
Tanjore style ofthe 18 th to 19th centuries is exempli¬ 
fied by hieratic wall-paintings, portraits on cloth, and 
books of rough sketches used by imagers and gold¬ 
smiths. The last are of special interest, onaccount of ; 
the great boldness of the freehand brush outlines, 
and for the extremely archaic character of some of 
the designs. 

The 18th-century Buddhist painting of Ceylon 
appearsin the narrative style of th ejaiaka paintings 
on the vihara walls (fig. 67); in rare illustrations of 
97 7 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA 6? CEYLON 



paperMSS.; in painted wooden book-covers of palm- 
leaf MSS. (fig. 68); in separate panel representations 
of Buddha; and in the ceiling paintings, which in¬ 
clude many fine patterns, and also representations 
of the “ tree of life,’’ with a festooned border, exactly 
in the style of the South Indian palampores. The 
paintings can be well studied at the Kelaniya Vihara 
near Colombo, and the Degaldoruwa Vihara near 
Kandy. 

The latter part of the 19th century in India has 
been a blank, so far as any serious work in painting 
goes. Western influences have made fashionable 
98 



PAINTING 

the most trivial of academic realism; but not a single 
painter, of all those who have worked under these 
influences, has produced any work of permanent im¬ 
portance, even of its own class. The weakness of the 
drawing, in such works as those of Ravi Varma, and 
his many imitators, is only equalled by the cheapness, 
not to say the vulgarity, of the sentiment. The be¬ 
ginning of the present century has been marked by 
a reaction; not only in taste, leading to a renewed 
appreciation of the older works, but also in produc¬ 
tion, especially in Calcutta, where a group of artists 
led by A. N. Tagore, Vice-Principal of the School 
of Art, have endeavoured to recover old traditions, 
and give sincere expression to Indian sentiment. 
Their treatment of the myths has not always proved 
a success, mainly from lack of sufficient conviction; 
but they have portrayed well, though in a manner 
too much influenced by Japan,the delicate charm and 
refinement of the old I ndian daily life, so far as it sur¬ 
vives. Love, andnotself-advertisement,inspires their 
work. Great credit is due to all such pioneers, under 
conditions sodifficuli and so hostile to sincerefeeling 
as those which obtain in India at the present clay. 
Edicts, like those of Asoka, and grants are en¬ 
graved on stone and metal. Sanskrit (the classic lan¬ 
guage of the Hindus) is written in what is called the 
99 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

deva-nae;ari ("city-of-the-gods”) character,and near¬ 
ly all vernaculars (especially Hindi) in the same, or 
* -iruiflT- mow cew* 

^ ttl&s « 

Two lines of a Sanskrit MS., Kashmir (rSth or 19th century). 

the samemoreorless modified. The nagaricharacters 
are a form of the older “Bramhi”script. Thecomplete 
alphabet of forty-six letters—theonlyperfectlyscien- 
tific alphabet ever in general use—written in Brahmi 
must have been known by 500 b.c. It is based on old 
Phcenicianforms which probably reached Indiaabout 
Soob.c. (Buhler). The old I ndian MSS. are written on 
birch bark, or palm leaves, the former in Kashmirand 
thenorth generally, the latter in the south. Inkwasal- 
readyusedin the 2nd century b.c., probably in the 4 th, 
and very possibly much earlier. Paper was notused in 
India before the lothcentury. Nagarlcharactersare 
written with a broad reed pen on the birch bark or 
palm leaves, and now on paper (the oldest MS. on 
paper is of the 13th century a.d.) ; while southern 
MSS.in vernacular characters are incised with a writ¬ 
ing style, and the incisions blackened by rubbing in 
ink. From the nature of these materials, it will be 
seen that but little could be done in the way of illus- 
100 




PAINTING 

trating manuscripts, but the wooden covers are often 
painted with figure subjects or conventional decora¬ 
tion. The nagarl script is monumental and severe, 
often very splendid in effect, but never intentionally 
calligraphic; the crafts of painting and 
writing are quite distinct. 





CHAPTER FOUR 

ARCHITECTURE 





CHAPTER FOURTH ARCHITECTURE 
EXCEPT IN TECHNICAL WORKS, RE- 
ferences to architecture are almost as rare in Indian 
as in any other old literature. There are, however, 
enough of such allusions, and so poetical, as to show 
very clearly that Indian architecture was no accid¬ 
ent, but did very really correspond to an enthusiasm 
such as we can hardly conceive in connection with our 
modern cities. 

Lanka, in the Ramqyana , is likened to a mind- 
wrought city in the air; and again, to a beautiful 
woman, with banners for her earrings and the tow¬ 
ers upon the walls for her breasts. And this image we 
meet with once more a millennium and a half later, 
in the Mahavamsa, when the chronicle tells us that 
a king of Kandy “ raised for himself a monument 
of glory by building a wall enclosing the great bo- 
tree, the chaitya, and the Natha devale that stood in 
the middle of the city—a wall of stone, thick, high, 
and shining with plaster work, like unto a beautiful 
string of pearls adorning the neck of the city that 
was like a fair woman.” 

The Indians indeed loved their cities, "abounding 
in white houses.” Bana (7th century a.d.) compares 
Ujjayim to Kailasa, with its many peaks clear-cut 
against the sky, “for joy at being Shiva’s home.” 
The light-hearted folk that dwell there " order the 
105 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

making of water-works, bridges, temples, pleasure- 
grounds, wells, hostels, cattle-sheds, and halls of as¬ 
sembly”; they are masters of the whole circle of the 
arts; and the city is like the magic tree that grants 
all wishes: “ its courts are open to all, yet its glory 
is undimmed.” Ontheother hand,the ruin of Polon- 
naruva is described (13th century a.d.) in th t'Maha- 
vcmisa, with an even more significant sadness; “its 
palaces and temples are tumbling down, because 
there is nothing to support them. Sad, indeed, is it 
also to see others, unable to stand by reason of de¬ 
cay and weakness, bending down to their fall day 
by day, like unto old men.” 

Town planning was no secular matter, but accord¬ 
ing to sacred traditions recorded in th & Shilpashds- 
tras. The proper place for each kind of building was 
strictly prescribed, as well as the measurements of 
the actual buildings down to the smallest mouldings. 
The whole was modelled upon the plan of a city in 
heaven; when the king desired to build, he called his 
architect, saying, “Send to the city of the gods, and 
procure me a plan of their palace, and build one like 
it.” Thus all human building is traced back to the 
work of the divine architect, Vishvakarma; and ar¬ 
chitecture, like painting and sculpture, becomes a 
hieratic and sacred calling, with the master-crafts- 
106 



ARCHITECTURE 

man as priest. These conceptions belong not only 
to the past, but survive to the present day in the tra¬ 
ditions of the builders’ guilds. 

The beginnings of Indian architecturehave left no 
traces, for almost the first use of permanent mater¬ 
ial is in the 3rd century b.c., and the remains of that 
date already belong to a perfected style. When a 
little later we meet with the excavated chaiiya-\ysS\% 
and, later still, theearliest Hindu templesof the Arya- 
varta and the Dravidian school, we are again faced 
with the same problem, of the origin of styles which 
seem to spring into being fully developed. 

It is clear that architecture had not made much 
progress amongst the Aryans when they first entered 
India; on the contrary, all the later styles have been 
clearly shown to be developments of aboriginal and 
non-Aryan structures built of wood (posts and beams, 
bamboo, thatch), the intermediatestagesbeing work¬ 
ed out in brick. The primitive wooden and brick 
building survivestothepresent day side by side with 
the work in stone, a silent witness of historic origins. 

Some of the details of the early stone architecture 
point to Assyrian origins, but this connection is, for 
India, prehistoric. How the use of stone was iirst 
suggestedisamatterof doubt; none of theearlyforms 
have a Greek character, but (like the SanchT gates) 





ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA 8? CEYLON 

are translations of I ndian wooden forms into stone; 
while stone did not come into use for the structural 
temples of the Brahmans until, so late as the 6th 
century a.d. 

The earliest form of architectureof which we have 
abundant remains is that of the more or less dome¬ 
shaped monuments ( chaityas) (figs. 23,-79), con¬ 
structed of solid brick or stone (except for the hollow 
relic chamber), and called stupas (“topes”) in India, 
and dagabas in Ceylon. These monuments are usu¬ 
ally Buddhist, occasionally Jain, never Brahmanical. 
The most ancient (SanchT) are plain domes usually 
with a spire andsurrounded by a “ Buddhist railing ” 
as a protection against evil spirits. These railings 
(fig. 79) aremassive stone copies of wooden post and 
rail fences, the three rails probably symbolising the 
“ triple refuge "(Buddha, Dharma, Sangha): slightly 
later (Bharhut, Amaravatl), the railings are orna¬ 
mented with elaborate decorative and narrative 
sculpture. The stupas vary from miniature votive 
models, to the largest at Anuradhapura, exceeding 
in size all but the two greatest of the Egyptian pyra¬ 
mids. Stupas are not temples, but monuments erected 
over sacred relics, or to mark a sacred place. Their 
origin is somewhat doubtful: they are probably older 
than Buddhism, and some regard them as derived 







ARCHITECTURE 

from the primitive earthen sepulchral mound, while 
others have traced their form to that of a primitive 
circular wooden hut-shrine. The most important ex¬ 
amples are at Sanchi and Bharhut (2ndcentury b.c. ), 
Amaravatland S.irnath (6th century a.d.), in India, 
and Anuradhapura (3rd century b.c. to 8th a.d.) and 
Polonnaruva in Ceylon. The Ceylon Shiipashastras 
preserve canons of form and proportion for six differ¬ 
ent types, called by such names as Bell-shape, Heap 
of rice, Lotus, and Bubble. 

It is important to remark that the globular stupa 
dome-form was not confined to solid monuments or 
miniature votive dagabas, but was also a common 
feature of the open structural shrines, as represented 
at Bharhut, Amaravatl and Ajanta. 

Somewhat later than the earliest stupas and rail¬ 
ings are the great stone gateways, or toran , of which 
the finest and most perfectly preserved examples 
are at Sanchi (fig. 79). These are clearly copied 
from wooden forms. Those at Sanchi are completely 
covered with delicate sculptures that present us with 
a most interesting and intimate series of pictures of 
contemporary Indian life, including many very in¬ 
structive representations of civil and secular archi¬ 
tecture. No such gateways are found in Ceylon: but 
some of the dagabas have, on the other hand, elabor- 
109 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
ate altars or “reredos” on thefour sides, flanked with, 
carved monolithic pillars of moderate height, with 
ornamentation somewhat reminiscentof Amaravatl. 

Another most important class of early buildings, 
and one purely Buddhist, is that of th.c chaitya-h.'a.Ws 
(Buddhist temples). Of free-standing structural ex¬ 
amples of this type there survive only two with the 
original barrel roof intact. The vast majority must 
have been built of wood, upon a brick foundation, 
and have now perished. The prototype perhaps sur¬ 
vives in the dairy temple of the Todas. We are well 
acquainted with the structural peculiarities of the 
chaitya-lralls, from the many examples excavated in 
solid rock. Thesehave barrel roofs, like the inverted 
hull of a ship, with every detail of the woodwork 
accurately copied in stone. The earliest date from the _ 
time ofAsoka (3rdcentury b.c.) and are characterised 
by their single-arched entrance and plain facade. In 
later examples (fig. 80) the single-arched opening is 
reduced in size and becomes a window repeated above 
a smaller doorway, while the whole' facade is often 
covered with sculptured figures. The characteristic 
arched window survives as an almost universal orna¬ 
ment in later architecture, particularly in Southern 
India (figs. 83, 88, 118), and Ceylon. The wooden 
prototype of these pointed arched entrances and -win- 




ARCHITECTURE 

do ws is recognisable in the doorwayof the Toda hm 

po S 3 i N yr ep r ese nt The,vtcS;X a r ndmay 



,, An0t !^ r f ° rm ° f much interest is that of the Siam- 
a ,° r a .’\ re P resen t e d by the monolithic pillars of 
Asoka, wtth Buddhist inscriptions and surmounted 

icTed? 1 -! "V ater c meSjainSand Hindus also 
- ected similar pillars. Several of the Gupta period 
are secular monuments. Many of the earlv tvpes 
(Bharhut, etc.) have bell-shaped capitals of a Pers¬ 
ian character. One at Allahabad has a fine Assvrian 

honey-suckle”ornamentcarved as a fillet round Te 

lower part of the capital. Another, even more lam- 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA .& CEYLON 
ous, is the Iron Pillar of Delhi, a monument erected 
by Samuelragupta about 415 a.d. There are many 
beautiful mediaeval Jain and Hindu pillars; those of 
the Jains in the Kanara district are especially grace¬ 
ful and well-proportioned, while there is a beautiful 
Hindu example outside the great temple at Purl. 

In Ceylon no separate monoliths have been dis¬ 
covered, but some of the early dagabas(Thuparama, 
etc.) are surmounted by very graceful and tall stone 
pillars withcarved capitals, in placeof the more usual 
Buddhist railing. These pillars perhaps supported a 
light roof, and served for the attachment of festoons 
of lamps on all festive occasions. 

Not only the single Mis, but also the supporting 
columns of excavated and structural temples, are of 
great interest, so much so that the latter might alone 
demand a separate monograph. There are four es¬ 
pecially characteristic forms, the early Persepolitan 
type, with kneeling bulls or other animals, and three 
distinctively Indian types, one with foliage overfall¬ 
ing from a vase-shaped capital, another with a rib¬ 
bed cushion capital (figs. Si, 82) resembling the am- 
alaka of the Aryavarta shikhara , the third and sim¬ 
plest form square in section, with a simple bracket 
capital supporting the horizontal beams of the roof, 
whether wood dr stone (figs. 89, 98). By chamfer- 





ARCHITECTURE 

ings, the square column becomes octagonal in whole 
or part (fig. 95). The bracket may be elaborated in 
many ways (figs. 96, 97, 143). Many of the wooden 
forms are of circular section (figs. 97, 98); a simple 
tree trunk is the prototype of all. 

Still another early type of building is the pansala, 
vihara, or monastery. Many of the early monasteries 
(Kanheri, Gandhara, Elura, Karli, Ajanta, Nasik, 
Bagh, Udayagiri, etc.) are hewn in solid rock and 
associated with the excavated chaitya-h.a)\s. In other 
places, such as Sarnath, Nalanda, and Anuradhapu- 
ra, where large communities of monks resided and all 
the traditions of a great university were maintained 
formany centuries, there existed elaborate structural 
monasteries of many stories, of which only the found¬ 
ations now remain. Some idea of the appearance of 
such an ancient Indian university may be gathered 
from Hiouen Tsang’s description of Nalanda in the 
beginning of the 7th century. “One gate,” he says, 
“opens into the'great college, from which are sep¬ 
arated eight other halls, standing in the middle of 
the monastery. The richly adorned towers, and the 
' fairy-like turrets, like pointed hill-tops, are congreg¬ 
ated together. The observatories seem to be lost in 
the mists of the morning, and the upper rooms tower 
above the clouds. . . . All the outsidecourts, in which 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
are the priests’ chambers, are of four stages. The 
stages have dragon projections and coloured eaves; 
thepearl-red pillars, carved and ornamented, the rich¬ 
ly adorned balustrades, and the roofs covered with 
tiles that reflect the light in a thousand shades, these 
things add to the beauty of the scene.” Of Nalanda 
only traces are now recognisable, and of the “Brazen 
Monastery” at Anuradhapura there remain only the 
1600 monolithic pillars -which originally supported 
a splendid wooden superstructure, “ built after the 
model of a palace of the devas.” There are also at 
Anuradhapura remains of many smaller pansalas , 
or monks’ houses, with their characteristic flights 
of steps (fig. 85), wing-stones, and “moonstones,” 
the latter being semicircular doorsteps carved with 
animal processions (horse, elephant, lion, bull, and 
hamsa , or sacred goose) and lotus centres. 

We have still to refer to the early secular build¬ 
ings. We know practically nothing of them from ac¬ 
tual remains : but there are so many good pictures 
of them at Sanchl, Bharhut, etc., sculptured in low 
relief, that we can tell exactly what they were like. 
The ground floor was probably used for shops or for 
cattle; a second story was supported on pillars. A 
narrow verandah runs along the second story, pro¬ 
tected by a “ Buddhist railing,” while the rooms be- 

114'" 



ARCHITECTURE 

hind have a barrel roof and chaitya-w indows exactly 
resembling those of the caves. Balconies are a con¬ 
spicuous feature of Indian architecture from first to 
last. 



Houses : from bas-reliefs at Sanchi and Bharhut. After Beylie. 


A few words must also be devoted to the impor¬ 
tant subject of reservoir construction. Irrigation 
works are of two main types, viz., canals diverting 
water from rivers, and reservoirs fed by canals or 
natural drainage. Works of both kinds were under¬ 
taken in the Euphrates valley as early as 4000 b.c., 
and were probably well known in India in the second 
millennium b.c. I ndia is even now covered with vill¬ 
age tanks, shallow pools with artificial banks in which 
rain water is stored from season to season; the 12th 
century (a.d.) Sagar Dighl at Gaur in Bengal is 
nearly a mile long by half a mile broad ; the 17 th 

115 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

century Jaisamand lake at Udaipur is some nine miles 
long by five broad; butitwas only notably in Ceylon 
that there existed conditions favourable to the con¬ 
struction of very large works at a much earlier date. 
The largest of the embankments of these Ceylon 
reservoirs measures nine miles in length.and the ar¬ 
ea of the greatest exceeds 6000 acres. The earliest 
large tank dates from the 4th century B.c. What is 
even more remarkable than the amount of labour 
devoted to these works, is the evidence they afford 
of early skill in engineering, particular!) 7 in the 
building of sluices: those of the 2nd or 3rd century 
b.c. forming the type of all later examples in Cey¬ 
lon, and anticipating some of the most important 
developments of modern construction. The most 
striking features of these sluices are the valve pits 
(rectangularwells placed transverselyacross the cul¬ 
verts and lined with close-fitting masonry), and the 
fact that the sectional area of the culverts enlarges 
towards the outlet, proving that the engineers were 
aware that retardation of the water by friction in¬ 
creased the pressure, and might have destroyed the 
whole dam if more space were not provided. Such 
contrivances, of course, remain hidden under water; 
but we find, both in Ceylon and in India, that the 
smaller reservoirs and bathing pools (fig. 84) built 
116 








ARCHITECTURE 

in great cities for popular use, or in connection with 
temples—forming in either case the chief centre of 
communal life—were designed with a keen sense of 
fine proportion, and a wonderful elegance of detail 
With these should be classed the architecture of the 
great riverside ghats, as at Benares (fig. 93), where 
noble building combines with a perpetuation of the 
life of ancient India to form one of the most wonder¬ 
ful spectacles the world can still present. 

The buildings so far described are mainly Bud¬ 
dhist, and not later than the Gupta period. In medi¬ 
aeval times there were other important buildings at 
Gaya (restorations by Burmese), Sarnath, and other 
places in India, and at Polonnaruva in Ceylon, and 
in Java; while Buddhist architecture survives to the 
present day as a living tradition in Nepal, Ceylon, 
Burma, and Siam. The leading motifs of Chinese 
and Japanese building art— e.g. the pagoda and torii 
—are also of Indian origin. 

We must now describe the Brahmanical and Jain 
temples, which are found throughout India in be¬ 
wildering variety, and are far more familiar to travel¬ 
lers than the older and less conspicuous Buddhist 
remains. There is scarcely any Hindu building- 
standing which can be dated earlier than the 6th 
century a.d. Soon after that, however, we find an 
117 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

abundance oftemples which seem to spring into being 
without any trace of historic origins. The explana¬ 
tion of this circumstance is again to be found in the 
loss of earlier buildings constructed of perishable 
materials; all thegreatarcbitectural types must have 
been worked out in timber and brick before the erec¬ 
tion of the stone temples which alone remain. One 
point of particular interest is the fact that the early 
temples of the gods, and prototypes of later forms, 
seem to have been cars, conceived as self-moving 
and rational beings. In the Ramayana it is said that 
in Ayodhya therewere so many shrines that it seem¬ 
ed as if itwere the very home of the living cars of the 
gods: and in another place, the whole city of Ayod¬ 
hya is compared to a celestial car. The carryingof im¬ 
ages in processional cars is still an important feature 
of Hindu ritual. The resemblance of the Aryavarta 
skikhai'a to the bamboo scaffolding of a processional 
car is too striking to be accidental. More than that, 
we actually find stone tem ples of great size provided 
with enormous stone wheels (Konarak, Vijayana- 
gar): and the monolithic temples at Mamallapuram 
(7th century) (fig. 83) are actually called rathas, that 
is cars, while the term vimana, applied to later 
Dravidian temples, has originally the same sense, of 
vehicle or moving palace. Something of the sense 



ARCHITECTURE 

of life belonging to the older vehicles remains as¬ 
sociated with the later buildings: it has been well 
said, that '‘in Indian temples, we feel an infinite 
power of increase.” 

Theessentialpartsofa Hindu temple are the nave 
or porch, withorwithoutpillars,andopen to all twice- 
born men; and a square shrine contain- 
ing the image and entered only by the rt j r ~ ji R 
officiating priests,butoftenwith a pass- ^ 
age for circumambulation, by worship- p e o k\ 
pers. The nave has a flat or compara- I’ e c |,l 
tively low roof, while the shrine is cov- 
ered by a spire or skikhara. The whole p ■= ° <= c 
temple with its subsidiary chapels and jp c c E c 
other buildings is usually surrounded j 

by a nigh wall, with entrances on four y [i 

Sides. Plan of Papanatha 

H indu temples are built not for men, kaddMtCTPer- 
butfor the god and his service. The idol gusson. Scale 50 
may be no more than a plain Imgavi, feet t0 1 lndl - 
but, once consecrated, it becomes a special mode of 
the god-consciousness, and for this reason no ex¬ 
penditure and no labour have seemed to his devout 
worshippers too great to be lavished on his sanctu¬ 
ary. Nowadays we conceive that churches should 
correspond in number to the local population, and 
119 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

are satisfied with any building, however mean, if it 
shelters a sufficient congregation. Such ideas were 
far from the mind of the Indian builders: their cath¬ 
edral towns came into being for the churches, not 
the churches for the towns; while sometimes they 
built whole cities {e.g. Bhuvaneshwar, Palltana, etc.) 
of temples for the gods alone, visited by none but 
priests and pilgrims. The Hindu shrine is essential¬ 
ly a place for pilgrimages and circumambulations, 
where men come for darshan, to “see” the god. In all 
these ideas the Indian and the mediaeval European 
cathedral builders were essentially at one: not only 
in external forms, but in underlying spirit, Gothic 
art was a flowering of the Oriental consciousness in 
' Europe. Gothic art and Roman Catholic Christianity 
are an interpretation of the East, while modern cities 
and the Protestant consciousness hold East and West 
for ever apart. 

The two great styles of Hindu architecture are 
the Aryavarta or Indo-Aryan, found throughout 
Hindustan from Gujarat to Bengal and Orissa: and 
the Dravidian, in Southern India and Ceylon. The 
style called Chalukyan, intermediate in character 
and distribution, belongs to the Deccan and Mysore. 

The chief feature of the Aryavarta style (fig. 86) 
is the bulging spire (. shikharct) with carved ribs, ris- 
120 



iifiiVHa.v 

ARCHITECTURE 

ing above the shrine and constantly used on a small¬ 
er scale, often repeated upon itself, as an architectural 
ornament. The shikhara is capped by a huge ribbed 
stone (amalaka) of flattened circular cushion form, 
with a stone vase above this. The earliest phase of 
the northern style, however, appears in the excav¬ 
ated caves, where the relation to the structural tem¬ 
ples appears most evidently in the form of the carved 
pillars (fig. 82). The spire has analogies on the one 
hand with the wooden processional car, on the other 
with the Buddhist stupa, the relic chamber of the 
latter corresponding to the garbha of the Hindu 
shrine. It may be mentioned here that Hindu and 
modern Buddhist temples have often been spoken 
of as “pagodas.” In point of fact, the Chinese pa¬ 
goda form is of Indian Buddhist derivation; the 
superposition of roofs which constitutes its chief 
peculiarityis a development of the old Buddhist mo¬ 
tif of the chatta, or umbrella,—the symbol of regal 
honour which usually crowned the solid stupas and 
structural domes. H indu temples of the pagoda type 
are frequent in the Panjab Himalayas, and Bud¬ 
dhist “pagodas” in Nepal, Burma, and Ceylon; but 
the same multiplication of roofs is also recognisable 
in other areas {cf. fig. 86). 

Theoldeststructural example in the northern style 




ARTS Q? CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

is a brick temple at Bhitargaon, perhaps of the 4th 
century; and from the 7th century onwards there is 
an abundance of stone temples. Amongst the oldest 
are the 7th-century Vaishnava temple at Aihole, the 
7th—8th century Parashurameshwar and Muktesh- 
Avar temples at Bhuvaneshwar, and Jain temples at 
Aihole and elsewherein theDharwardistrict,and the 
8th-century Hindu temples at Osia in the Jodhpur 
state. The fine examples at Khajuraho (tot ioooa.d.), 
Bhuvaneshwar (10th century), and Purl (12th cent¬ 
ury) illustrate a second phase where theshikhara has 
become much higher and proportionately more slen¬ 
der. The Great Temple at Bhuvaneshwar, with its 
many smaller buildings clustered about the huge 
spire, is one of the most impressive of all Hindu 
shrines. Later than the Great Temple are the 'Raj- 
rani Temple at Bhuvaneshwar, decorated with col¬ 
umns and statues set in niches, as if on the facade 
of a Gothic cathedral: and the 13th century ruined 
temple of the Sun at Konarak, perhaps more splen¬ 
didly designed and lavishly decorated than any other 
in India. 

Themediseval western Jainstyle of Kathiawar and 
Gujarat is distinguished by its use of very richly car¬ 
ved columns, strut brackets, and elaborately carved 
domed ceilings with central pendants. Some of these 
122 



ARCHITECTURE 

features appear also in the fine woodwork of secular 
buildings of towns such as Surat, Ahmadabad, and 
even Bombay. The most splendid temples are those 
ofMt. Abu (1031 and 1230 a.d.); somewhat similar 
must have been the famous temple of Somnath (Shi¬ 
va) destroyed by Mahmud about 1000 a.d. Most re¬ 
markable, also, are the Jain temple cities (1 ith cen¬ 
tury or older, present day) at Palltana and Girnar, 
the former containing over 500 shrines without any 
secular building whatever. There are two beautiful 
Jain towers, respectively of the 10th and 15th cent¬ 
ury, at Chitor. 

The mediaeval Aryavarta style gradually passes 
into a modern phase, characterised by a slenderer 
and almost straight-sided tower, constantly repeat¬ 
ed onitself asan architectural ornament; the modern 
temples of Benares, Delhi, Ahmadabad, and most 
other parts of Hindustan, areof this type, A Bengali 
variety has a roof with curved outline, andoverhang- 
ing eaves derived, like the Rajput jharokha , from 
bent bamboo and thatched prototypes. 

The Dravidian temples are clearly distinguished 
from those of Hindustan by their great towers hori¬ 
zontally divided in terraces, and by the form of the 
roof, either a barrel roof (fig. 83) of the old chcatya- 
ha.ll type, or a globular dome. These roof types 
123 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
are taken over directly from the old Buddhist forms. 



Buddhist, Dravidinn, and Rajput domes. 


The dome is usually ribbed, affording clear vestigial 
evidence of an original construction dependent on 
the elasticity of bent bamboo; thus the Dravidian 
and Aryavarta shikhctras are actually closely relat¬ 
ed; the one has developed in height and is differ¬ 
ently terminated, the other retains a bulbous form. 
The Aryavarta dome has never been adapted to sec¬ 
ular purposes; but the Dravidian dome, always re¬ 
cognisable by the lotus moulding or calyx beneath 
and inverted lotus ( maha-padma ) above the actual ' 
globe, reappears in the Rajput chhatris, and is, more¬ 
over, the predominating element in the design of ev¬ 
en such typical Indo-Muhammadan domes as those 
of the Taj, or the Bijapur tombs. The globular mo¬ 
tif is also constantly recognisable in metal work (e.g. 
figs. 115, 117,122). 


[ 2 4 







ARCHITECTURE 

The walled quadrangleusually includes a number of 
temples, with tanks, ambulatories, andmany-column- 
ed halls. As a rule the central and original shrine is 
comparatively small, and quite dwarfed by the enor¬ 
mous towers (gopurams) over the entrance gates. 
The earliest monuments of the style are the beauti¬ 
ful monolithic rathas (cars) on theshore at Mamalla- 
puram, thirty-five miles south of Madras (fig. 83). 
All these belong to the 7th century,and 
but few are finished. 

Slightly later are the structural tem¬ 
ples at Conjeevaram, in the same style. 

The great rock-cut temple of Kailasa 
at Elura (fig. 87) belongs to the latter 
half of th-e 8th century: this wonderful 
work is not, like other excavations, a Bad- 

cave, but a copy of a structural temple ami. After Fcr- 
carved out of the living rock of the hill- 
side. It has therefore the disadvantage 
of standing in a pit, so that it can be looked down 
upon from above. The Jain “Indra Sabha” cave at 
Elura is not less distinctively Dravidian than the 
Hindu Kailasa. 

The Virupaksha temple at Pattakadal (South 
Bombay) is astructural templeclosely resembling the 
Kailasa and is of about the same date. Slightly ear- 

125 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
lier is the beautiful Malegitti Shivalaya at BadamT, 
which is very like the Mamallapuram rathas, and has 
also a small porch with four massive pillars recall¬ 
ing the type of the Ajanta caves, Nos. i and 17. 

The earliest of the structural temples in the south 
are the sea-shore temple at Mamallapuram, and the 
great temples at Tanjore and Gangaikondapuram, 
and the smaller Subrahmaniya temple at Tanjore. 
These, except the last, are the work of Chola kings 
of a little before and after 1000 a.d. The Subrah¬ 
maniya temple is finely proportioned, and covered 
with a profusion of delicate ornament (fig. 88). An 
interesting tradition relates that the king himself 
came to see the master sculptor at work, and stood 
behind him as he was intent upon his carving; then 
the sculptor held out his hand without turning^to 
receive a fresh wad of betel from his servant ana 
pupil, and the king, unseen, placed a royal betel leaf 
in the sculptor’s hand. He, when he began to chew 
it, recognised theunusual delicacy of thecondiments, 
and turned in fear to ask the king’s pardon; but the 
king answered, " I am a king of men: but you are 
a king of craftsmen, and merit royal delicacies.” 

Before the middle of the 14th century the second 
phase (1350-1750 a.d.) of the Dravidian style had 
been elaborated—probably in wooden forms, and 
126 




ARCHITECTURE 

for some features perhaps also in terra-cotta. The 
most characteristic feature of this style is found in 
its pillared halls, whether open naves (j manta-pains , 
as at Vellore) or separate “choultries.” These halls 
are roofed with horizontal stone slabs, and have 
most elegant cornices with a double flexure, support¬ 
ed on delicate pseudo-wooden transoms: the pillars, 
though monolithic, are often of compound design, and 
may be combined with figures of monsters (yalis), 
rearing horses, gods or shaktis , warriors, dancing- 
girls, or other motifs. The style culminates at Vija- 
yanagarand Tadpatri in the 16th century; and in the 
even more exquisite Avadaiyar Kovil, probably of 
the same date (fig. 90); the last exhibits very well the 
wonderful refinement, vitality, and mystery of this 
besj-?phase of the later Dravidian style. 

" The last and most productive form of the Dravi¬ 
dian style is distinguished by its enormous towering 
gateways, extensive corridors, and multiplicity of 
buildings included within the high encircling walls. 
The high external walls and gateways ( gopura.ms ) 
often completely dwarf the original shrine. The best- 
known example is the great temple at Madura (fig. 
89) built for Tirumalai Nayyak during the years 
1623 to 1625,and the elaborate three-aisled “choul¬ 
try ” ( chattram ) in front of it. The great corridors, 
127 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
about 4000 feet in all, at Rameshwaram are almost 
equally remarkable. 

The more conspicuous secular forms of Dravid- 
ian architecture, the 17th and 18th century palaces 
at Madura and Tanjore, are of little interest. Quite 
the reverse, however, is true of the domestic wood¬ 
en building; much of this, dating from the 18th cent¬ 
ury, preserves far older traditions, and is wonderfully 
beautiful. The ordinary thatched, one-storied house, 
of the South Indian and Ceylon type, consists of 
rooms grouped about a square open court, and separ¬ 
ated from it by a wide covered verandah where all 
household work is carried on; there maybe a second 
verandah, long and narrow, facing the street. The 
wooden forms of interest are the inner and s>uter ver¬ 
andah pillars, ceilings, cornices, and doorways.,,and 
these often serve to throw much light on the history 
of the ecclesiastical buildings in stone (figs. 95 to 98). 

Thechief characteristics of the Chalukyan or Hoy- 
sala style of the Deccan and Mysore are the high 
and very richly carved plinth, thestar-shaped ground 
plan, and low pyramidal roof. The best-known ex¬ 
amples are at Belur (ca. 1x17 a.d.) and Halebld 
(12th to 13th century). Temples in the Bellary dis¬ 
trict, though built by Chalukyan kings and most or¬ 
nate, are more Dravidian than Chalukyan in design. 





ARCHITECTURE 

One other and quite isolated style of temple build¬ 
ing to which referencemust be made, is that of Kash¬ 
mir (8th to 13th century). This is a style with point¬ 
ed arches, and is partly derived from Western class¬ 
ic models; the most important example is the temple 
of the sun at Martand, built by Lalitaditya in the 
8th century. No traces of this ancient style survive 
in later Kashmir art, which is for the most part of 
Indian origin in the 14th century, and in its recent 
forms distinctly of Musulman character. Kashmir 
thus affords a strong contrast with Nepal, another 
great Himalayan state which has preserved old 
Buddhist traditions of architecture and sculpture up 
to the present day. 

We have so far left out of account the splendid 
civE architecture of Hindustan. This is best exem¬ 
plified in the palaces and cenotaphs of the Rajput 
chiefs (Jodhpur,Bikaner, Udaipur, Gwaliar, etc.), the 
houses of wealthy merchants (Bikaner, Jaisalmer, 
etc.), and the riversidejcto-s- (Benares, Ujjain, Har- 
dwar, etc.). There are no prouder nor more splendid 
buildings in the world than the Rajput palaces, nor 
builton finer sites. We often think nowadays ofbuiid- 
ing as a desecration of natural beauty, because it has 
in Europe for so long actually been so; but these 
palaces, crowning the summits of lofty crags or fiat- 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON, 
topped hills, fortified on every side, or overlooking 
lakes or reservoirs, seem to be a living part of the 
soil on which they stand, and themselves have some¬ 
what of the grandeur and nobility of mountains. The 
most conspicuous features of detail in the Rajput 
palaces and contemporary domestic architecture are 
the curved overhanging cornices ( jharokha) (fig. 94), 
the small domes, plain or ribbed, and the massive 
bastions of the larger buildings. The jharokha form 
recalls the curved roof and overhanging eaves of one 
of the rat has at Mamallapuram,and both derive from 
the curved overhanging thatched roof of primitive 
domestic buildings. 

Scarcely any palaces now standing are older than 
the 13th century. Most of those at Chitdrare later 
than Alau-d-din’s raid in 1303; the 15th-century.pal¬ 
ace of Kumbha Rana is especially beautiful. The fin¬ 
est of the old Rajput palaces, however, is that of Man 
Singh (1486-1518) at Gwaliar (fig. 91), with addi¬ 
tions by his successor and subsequently by Jahangir 
and Shah Jahan. The Mughal emperor Babur saw it 
in 1527, and has recorded his admiration as follows: 
“They are singularly beautiful palaces . . . wholly 
of hewn stone . . . the small domes are one on each 
side of the greater, according to the custom of Hin¬ 
dustan. The five large domes are covered with plates 
130 





ARCHITECTURE 

of copper gilt. The outside of the walls they have 
inlaid with green painted tiles. All around they have 
inlaid the walls with figures of plantain trees made 
of painted tiles.” 

Next in importance to Gwaliar is the palace at 
Amber near the quite modern city of Jaipur; but it 
is a century later, and is less purely Hindii. This 
palace is mainly the work of another Man Singh, 
the friend of Akbar; to whom also is due a fine ghat 
and observatory on the riverside at Benares. 

Less imposing than Gwaliar, and more exquisite 
than even Amber, is the late 16th-century palace 
at Udaipur, where the Sesodia dynasty founded a 
new capital after the fall of Chitor. Additions to the 
original building, in perfect accord with the design, 
have been made from time to time up to the pre¬ 
sent day. The famous tripulia (three-arched gate) 
leads to a terrace which extends the whole length 
of the palace. This terrace is built up fifty feet from 
the ground on triple arches, over the slope of the 
hill away from the palace; and though it is thus 
hollow beneath, it has a range of stables built along 
the outer edge,and can support the Maharaja s whole 
army, elephants, cavalry, and infant! j h a is m- 
bled for review. On the lake are tv 0 i M ‘-L rq, 
with palacesand pavilions of the 17th and 1 Sth cent- 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
uries : Fergusson thought these island palaces the 
most beautiful things of their kind in the world. 

More masculine incharacter is the palace at Jodh¬ 
pur (fig. 92), built up on a high crag overlooking 
the city; the whole rock is faced with masonry and 
fortified with bastions or half-round towers of great 
solidity, on the summ it of which rests the airy super¬ 
structure of the palace itself. There are other splendid 
palaces at Bikaner, Dig, Datiya, Urcha, and some 
twenty more of the Rajput capitals. Jaipur is in¬ 
teresting as a well-planned and on the whole well- 
built modern city. 

The Rajputs have also erected many beautiful 
cenotaphs, usually in the form of a chhatrl raised 
on the spot where the body was burnt. Such monu¬ 
ments are grouped together in some wooded or se- 
cludedspot a little distance from the town: they com¬ 
memorate not only the departed warrior prince, but 
also the widow or widows who would not be sep¬ 
arated from him even by death. Fergusson watch¬ 
ed the erection of one of these monuments in 1839. 
" From its architect,” he says, “ I learned more of 
the secrets of art as practised in the Middle Ages 
than I have learned from all the books I have since 
read.” 

The best examples of 19th-century architecture 
132 




ARCHITECTURE 

are the utris or residences and hostels of the Raj¬ 
put princes, built along th & ghats at Benares. The 
Ghonsla Ghat of the princes of Nagpur is illustrated 
in fig. 93. It is a style such as this, and such as that 
of the palaces of Rajputana, which is still a living 
tradition in Hindustan, and could be utilised 
in the making of the new Delhi. 



Engraved design from a copper-plate grant: Silaha: 





CHAPTER FIVE 

METAL WORK 





CHAPTER FIFTH METAL 

WORK, ENAMELS, AND JEWELLERY 
THE INDIAN KNOWLEDGE OF METAL- 
lurgy is both wide and ancient. The famous Iron 
Pillar of Chandragupta II. at Delhi shows that al¬ 
ready in the 5th century a.d. the Indians were able 
to forge masses of iron larger than any which Euro¬ 
pean foundries could deal with before the latter part 
of the 19th century. It is remarkable that this pillar, 
though fully exposed to the weather, has never rust¬ 
ed, but retains its inscription as clear as when it was 
engraved. There is a still larger iron column at Dhar, 
over 42 feet in length (about 321 a.d.). The great 
iron beams of the 13th century at Konarak are less 
remarkable,as they are made up of many small bars 
imperfectly welded. Another important example 
is the 24-feet wrought-iron gun at Nurvar. Not 
only was iron worked at an early date (being men¬ 
tioned with gold, silver, lead, and tin in the Yajur- 
veda), but there existed (and perhaps originated) in 
India a very early knowledge of the art of preparing 
steel; the steelof India was known to the Greeksand 
Persians, and very probably to the Egyptians, and 
was also the material of the famous blades of Dam¬ 
ascus. The manufacture on a small scale has sur¬ 
vived to the present day in India and Ceylon; clay 
crucibles containing about 12 oz. of iron, and chips 
i37 



ARTS © CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
of wood, are heated in a blast furnace until the con¬ 
tents are melted, forming ultimately the little bars 
of hard steel which are handed over to the black¬ 
smith to be worked up into tools and weapons. The 
subject of Indian arms and armour is so vast, that it 
would be impossible to give any detailed account of 
it here ; but mention must be made of the more im¬ 
portant forms of decoration. Best of all is the art of 
carvingsteel, which attained such perfection in Tan- 
jore and other parts of Southern India, where it no 
longer flourishes, and in Rajputana, where the arm¬ 
ourers still work. Superb examples from Tanjore 
are in the Madras Museum : the elephant goad of 
fig. 99 belongs to the Raja of Ettayapuram in the 
far south; while there are fine collections of chiselled 
and damascened arms in all the Rajput palaces. 

There are many types of damascening ikoft ) and 
encrusting—the inlay or overlay of one metal on an¬ 
other,—all of them practised throughout India, or 
at least in several widely separated localities, and 
often combined in one and the same piece of work. 
In the simplest and cheapest method, the steel or 
iron basis is first roughened by scoring with fine 
scratches, then gold or silver wire is pressed down 
according to the required design, and well hammered. 
Good work of this kind is still done at Sialkot in the 
138 




METAL WORK 

Panjaband inTravancore. From this there are trans¬ 
itions to the proper inlaying of wire in deep grooves 
cut in the ground metal: when hammered down, the 
wire is tightly held by the sides of the grooves, and 
the surface may be filed and polished. Gold or silver 
on steel, and silver or brass on copper, are the usual 
combinations. In another sort of work, frequently 
combined with the wire inlay, small plates of the 
encrusting metal are inlaid on excavated areas of 
the ground, the edges of which areas are hammered 
over to grip the inlaid plate. 

A-familiar example ofquite flat incrustation,usual¬ 
ly combined with wire inlay (as in the rich example, 
fig. 105, also fig. 187) is seen in the well-known bidri 
ware. This is an alloy of zinc, lead, and tin, from 
which are made dishes, basins, pandans, etc., used 
both by Hindus and Musulmans. It is, however, an 
old Hindu art, taking its name from Bidar in the 
Deccan. Another important centre was Purnea in 
Bengal, where also flourished a special local, style 
of silver inlay on copper, combined with inset sil¬ 
ver ajonrte (fig. 109). After the silver inlay is com¬ 
pleted, the surface of the bidri ware is chemically 
blackened. 

In some types of encrusted ware the excavated 
area is carved or repousse, forming a raised design 

139 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

to which the thin overlay readily adapts itself when 
hammered down. Much of the most florid work of 
this sort is of modern manufacture in Tanjore, and 
a reflection of the same technique appears in a form 
of Lucknow bidrl, where the silver overlay is raised 
in relief. But the flat incrustation is almost always 
more pleasing and richer in effect without a sugges¬ 
tion of overloading. 

In old work also, copper only is overlaid on the 
brass; the modern use of silver has a somewhat taw¬ 
dry effect. 

Of great importance, both from a practical point 
of view and from an assthetic, are the vessels entirely 
of brass or copper, used by Hindus for ritual and 
domestic purposes. Brass does not appear to have 
been in use before the i ith century; before that time 
all vessels were made of bronze or copper, as many 
still are. 

An. extract from the Mahanirvana Tantra will 
show with what pious and devoted affection objects 
intended for ritual use were manufactured: 

“The jar is called kalasha, because Vishvakarma made it from 
the different parts of each of the Devatas. It should be thirty- 
six fingers in breadth in its widest part and sixteen in height. The 
neck should be four fingers in breadth, the mouth six, and the 
base five. This is the rule for the design of the kalasha. 

140 





■ .METAL WORK 

“ It should be made. . . without holeor crack. In its making all 
miserliness should be avoided, since it is fashioned for the pleas¬ 
ure of the Devas.” 

Temple lamps (figs. 102, 104, 111) are of infinite 
variety; the most characteristic are the standing 
lamps in the form of a branching tree, each branch 
ending in a little bowl for oil and wick. Others are 
simple upright stands, supporting a shallow bowl 
arranged for several wicks; and very frequently the 
central rod ends in a bird finial, usually a hamsa or a 
peacock. Similar lamps are also suspended by chains, 
which are themselves richly varied in design and 
excellent in workmanship. Lamps in the Buddhist 
temples of Ceylon are often hollow, containing oil 
which continually refills the small mouth containing 
the wick; some of these also are in bird form. Per¬ 
haps the greatest variety of all kinds of stanclingand 
other lamps is found in Nepal (fig. 104). Another 
frequent form is that of a standing woman, holding 
forth a shallow bowl for oil and wick (fig. 11 f}. A 
beautiful form of lamp for burning camphor before 
an image consists of a little bowl, enclosed in the 
centre of a many-petaled lotus, made to open and 
close. The same lotus form enshrines the Buddhist 
goddess Vajra-Tara, who is seated in the centre, 
while eight reflexes of herself (for each point o( the 





ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

compass)are represented on theeightpetals(fig.ioi). 
There are many good forms of ceremonial spoons; 
some also for serving rice, but none, of course, for 
eating, for which all Hindus and Musulmans use 
their fingers. 



Incised decoration of a Tanjore Iota. 


Domestic brass is the glory of a Hindu kitchen; 
it is cleaned daily, and polished to a degree that must 
be seen to be believed. Most important are the large 
and small lotas for water, and smaller vessels with a 
wide mouth for milk (fig. 113); then all sorts of shal¬ 
lower bowls and dishes for cooking rice, some of 
which, belonging to communities or guilds, are of 
enormous size—cauldrons rather than bowls; then 
other vessels for special purposes, of which perhaps 
the finest are the surahis (fig. 115), globular in shape 
with a long narrow neck, used for Ganges water, and 
carried all over I ndia. 

The use of gold plate is naturally restricted to the 
142 







METAL WORK 

most wealthy, but silver dishes are in common use 
for table service of the well-to-do. A silver jug for 
feeding a child with milk is shown in fig. i T 7; this 
form, with or without a lid, occurs all over India, in 
silver, copper, and brass, and is that used from early 
times onward for the ceremonial ratification of gifts 
by pouring water, also for drinking purposes, the 
water being poured from the spout to the mouth 
without contact. It will be seen, from the thorough 
dailycleansingto which all domestic vessels are sub¬ 
jected, scouring, in fact, with mud, that no sort of 
raised ornament is appropriate; hence the only de¬ 
coration applied to such vessels, whether originally 
cast or hammered, takes the form of incised design, 
or quite flat encrustation. 



Long-toothed metal combs are used for ha,i 01 ~" 
ing, but flowers and jewels only for its adon < 1 

Of two combs illustrated here, one (fig. : 

>43 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

the use of architectural ornament of the Dravidian 
cornice and chaitya -window type ; the second (fig. 
119), a 16th-century piece from Tanjore, is sur¬ 
mounted by four deer, the heads and bodies so ar¬ 
ranged that the three prongs do duty foreighthorns, 
and eight legs for the sixteen which four quadrupeds 
should possess. 

Repoussd or engraved trays in silver or brass are 
usedforallkindsof offerings, andfor conveying gifts, 
but especially for flowers to be offered in temples. 
The old Slgiri paintings represent a procession of 
court ladies (or perhaps apsaras) attended by maids 
bearing trays of flowers. 

Nowhere has a local style and good workmanship 
in brass and bell-metal been better maintained up 
to recent times than in Nepal. Even images of some 
merit are still cast. Fig. 103 shows a characteristic 
gargoyle from a Nepalese temple; fig. 104 a group 
of lamps; and fig. 116 a tray stand, of which the main 
motif is a boldly drawn bull. The latter object may 
possibly be of Bengali origin, the older traditions of 
Nepalese and Bengal art being very closely related. 
The vajra (Tib. dorje), or thunderbolt, is a common 
cult-object, often of fine design and workmanship. 
The copper and brass boxes are of very richly re¬ 
pousse and pierced work. Beside the cast figures, 
144 














METAL WORE 

there are many others beaten up in extraordinarily 
high relief. 

The metal work of the Sinhalese is of special ex¬ 
cellence and variety, speaking, that is, of the Kand¬ 
yan provinces, rather than the low-country, where 
Portuguese and Dutch influences have long predo¬ 
minated.. The nut-slicers (fig. 131} and lime-boxes 
(figs.. 110, 114) are of inlaid copper or brass, some¬ 
times repousse.or set with gems. In the larger tem¬ 
ples there are still some beautiful vessels of gold and 
silver (fig. 108). Knife-sheaths and powder-horns are 
set in silver filigree ; knives are richly ornamented 
(fig. 130); the devale shell trumpets (fig. 140) are 
elaborately mounted in brass, with inlay of silver 
and copper; The goldsmiths and painters are mostly 
of Indian extraction, but their works have several 
peculiar forms, such as the “coconut-flower” and 
“ pepper-spike ” chains. The damascened iron fit¬ 
tings of the temple doors are very noteworthy; every- 
_ where the Kandyan viharas bear witness to the lav¬ 
ish patronage of the great iSth-cenonj ki q K u 
Shri Raja Simha, who, although a P> ndu 1 a f 
Buddhists, “ made himself one with d < id c u sna¬ 
the people,” like another Akbar. 

Almost the only Hindu coins of v ioiw r 
merit are those of the earlier Guptas: tl h r \J 
145 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA © CEYLON 

man coins, with their fine decorative inscriptions,are 
admirable in quite a different way. 

Many kind'; of brass toys (figs. 106, 107) are to 
be bought in almost any bazar. The best are per¬ 
haps those from Rajputana, where horses on wheels 
and horses or elephants drawing country carts with 
domed canopies, are favourite motifs. These carts 
must be just like the little clay cart (which ought 
to have been of gold) that gives its name to King 
Shudraka’s drama, and the golden carts of the child¬ 
ren mentioned in the Pattinappalai. More deliber¬ 
ately grotesque are the brass figures of horses and 
riders which used to be made at Vizagapatam. There 
is a considerable modern trade in Ceylon in realistic 
brass animals. Many of the old brass toys, as well 
as other objects such as lamps, and many types of 
heavy primitive jewellery in base metal, are decor¬ 
ated with twisted and spiral motifs, originally ap¬ 
plied in the form of strings of rolled wax to the sur¬ 
face of the wax model before casting. 

The same method of wax-casting is exemplified in 
the old Rajput(Bundi) craft of casting flexible chain 
anklets {sant) in one piece. Sir Thomas Wardle, 
speaking of these in a lecture (1901), remarked: “ I 
bought for a few annas a bronze chain anklet, but all 
cast in one mould together, quite a common thing, 
146 



METAL WORE 

but so wonderfully made that one of our best foundry 
owners told me he did not think anyone could do it 
in Europe.” A composition of wax, resin, and oil is 
prepared in a long string, and twisted spirally round 
a stick of the diameter of the proposed links. One cut 
along the stick separates the links: these are interlac¬ 
ed every one into two others,and each one joined up 
by applying a hot knife edge. When sixty or seventy 
rings are thus united, the ends of the chain are joined 
and the whole gently flattened and manipulated un¬ 
til it forms a perfectly flexible model of the future 
anklet. It is then dipped several times into a paste 
of clay and cow-dung until it is completely covered, 
and then enclosed in a thicker coat of clay. When 
dry, the upper edge of the mould is scraped so as to 
expose the top of each link, and a wax leading line 
attached, and again covered with clay. Two such 
moulds are enclosed side by side in a stronger case 
of clay and black earth, and the wax ends of the lead¬ 
ing line are brought up into a cup-shaped hollow at 
the top of the mould. This is filled with metal and a 
little borax, and luted over and covered with clay 
and earth, leaving only a small blow-hole. When thus 
mould is placed in a furnace and fired, the wax melts 
and the metal takes its place; and after cooling the 
mould is broken and the leading lines removed and 
147 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

irregularities filedaway, leaving a flexible metal ank¬ 
let ready for use. 

This is the ancient cire-perduc process, most skil¬ 
fully and adroitly practised by quite illiterate crafts¬ 
men all over India. The technique of founding 
bronze, copper, and brass images is exactly similar, 
and here also work is still done of great delicacy and 
complexity. It may be remarked that the vast ma¬ 
jority of fine metal images are of copper: bronze is 
rarely used, and, by the illustrations given here, only 
figs. 3 and 28 represent bronze originals. There is 
probably no branch of Indian metal work in which 
there is not still available a store of workshop skill 
and valuable recipes, from which the most experi¬ 
enced modern craftsmen and founders might profit¬ 
ably learn. The methods of manufacturing steel and 
iron afford another case in point, particularly in re¬ 
spect of the resistance to corrosion. 

A thorough investigation ofthemany alloys known 
to Indian metallurgists is also very desirable. Beside 
such special alloys as bidrl and pas-Id, there is a great 
variety in colour and power of tarnish resistance in 
the various brasses and bell-metals. Indian brass is 
always superior in colour to the commercial sheet 
brass now in general use. The tawdry yellow of 
modern Benares brass, by which Indian metal work 
148 





JEWELLERY 

is best known to tourists and collectors, well match¬ 
es its cheap and perfunctory workmanship; but old 
brass is often scarcely less beautiful than gold. 

From the earliest times the Indians have loved to 
adorn themselves with jewels ; indeed, the modern 
work descends in an unbroken line from the primitive 
and still surviving use of garlands of fresh flowers, 
and of seeds ; from these are derived the names of 
the work in gold, such as champa- bud-necklace. 
Many of the names of jewels mentioned in Panini’s 
grammar (4th centuryB.c.) are still in use. The long 
Panjabi necklaces are called “garlands of enchant¬ 
ment, ” mohan-malcr. earrings are called ear-flowers 
( karn-fhfd ). The forms are suggestive, but never 
imitative of the flower prototypes. Perhaps no people 
in the world have loved jewellery so well as the Ind¬ 
ians. It is a religious duty to provide a. wife with jew¬ 
els, as with dress; she should never appear before her 
husband without them, but in his absence on a jour¬ 
ney she should discard them temporarily, and after 
his death, for ever. 

One need be an Indian woman, born and bred in 
the great tradition, to realise the e 1 r er 
that such jewels as earrings and an! Icm lei n 1 ei; 
wearers; she knows the full delignt m s 1 nj; 
jewels touching her cheek, at every step mi c r - 

149 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

cination of the tinkling bells upon her anklets. Some 
have called her nose-rings barbarous and her love 
of jewels childish; but there are also those who think 
that she knows best what best becomes her. 

All well-to-do families have their own goldsmith, 
whose office is hereditary: and since the goldsmiths 
are proverbially untrustworthy, it is usual for them 
to bring their tools anddo whatever work is required 
at the patron's own house, under an overseer’s eye. 
The dishonest goldsmith is described by Manu as 
themosthurtfulof thorns, meriting to be cut topieces 
with razors. 

How splendid the old Indian jewellery (several 
centuries b.c.) could be is well suggested in a passage 
of th cDhammapada, describing the “great-creeper- 
parure,”made by 500 goldsmiths in four months, and 
worn by the daughter of a king’s treasurer : “When 
this parure was on, it extended from head to foot. . 
a partof this parure consisted of a peacock, and there 
were 500 feathers of red gold on the right side, and 
500 on the left side. The beak was of coral, the eyes 
were of jewels, and likewise the neck and the tail 
feathers. The midribs of the feathers were of silver, 
and likewise the shanks of the legs. . . This parure 
wasworth ninety millions,* and a hundred thousand 

* Copper coins, weighing 146 grains. 



JEWELLERY 

was spent on the workmanship.” It is not only, how¬ 
ever, the daughters of treasurers who wear many 
jewels; the peasant jewellery is of equal interest and 
variety. In Southern India even the poorest coolies 
wear gold ornaments. 

The superfluity of wealth in an old Tamil seaport 
at the mouth of the Kaveri is thus suggested in the 
Pattinappalai , a poem of the earlier centuries of the 
present Christian era: “ The heavy earrings thrown 
by the ladies of shining brows, shy glance and fair- 
wrought jewels, at the fowls that peck the drying 
grain in the spacious courts of the mighty city (are 
so large and numerous as to) obstruct the passage 
of the three-wheeled toy-carts,drawn without horses 
by children whose anklets are of gold.” 

Paes gives the following description of the maids 
ofhonourof the Vijayanagar queens early in the 16th 
century: “They have very rich and fine silk cloths; 
on the head they wear high caps (cf fig. 5 x)... and 
on these caps they wear flowers made of large pearls; 
collars on the neck with jewels of gold very richly 
set with many emeralds and diamonds and rubies 
and pearls ; and beside this many strings of pearls, 
and others for shoulder-belts; on the lower part of 
the arm many bracelets, with half of the upper arm 
all bare, having armlets in the same way ail of pre- 
I S I 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

cious stones; on the waist many girdles of gold and 
of precious stones, which girdles hang in order one 
below the other, almost as far down as half the thigh; 
besides these belts they have other jewels, for they 
wear very rich anklets, even of greater value than the 
rest ... in all perhaps sixty women fair and young, 
from sixteen to twenty years of age. Who is he that 
could tell of the costliness and the value of what each 
of these women carries on her person?” 

Davy thus describes the costume of the last king 
of Kandy: “On state occasions,he was either dress¬ 
ed in the most magnificent robes, loaded with a pro¬ 
fusion of jewellery, or in complete armour of gold, 
ornamented with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.” 

In all Indian sculptureandpainting, thejewellery, 
which often forms the greater part of the costume, 
and sometimes the whole of it, is represented with 
great fidelity; so that the materials exist for a most 
detailed history. But not only was jewellery worn 
by the gods, and by men, women, and children; 
classic Indian poetry makes constant reference to 
a similar decoration of palaces and. cities, to say no¬ 
thing of the jewelled trappings of elephants and 
horses and cattle, and the decoration of state carri¬ 
ages andbeds. Architectural columns werehungwith 
festoons of pearls, and these are invariably indicated 

152 



JEWELLERY 

in the old paintings and represented in the actu¬ 
al stone and woodwork. The classic drama of the 
Little Clay Cart , for example, speaks of “gold¬ 
en stairways inlaid with all sorts of gems,” and of 
“ crystal windows from which are hanging strings 
of pearls”: “the arches set with sapphires look as 
though they were the home of the rainbow.” It is 
in a court such as this that the jewellers are at work, 
setting rubies, fashioning golden ornaments, grind¬ 
ing coral, and piercing shell. “Upon its forehead.” 
says Bana, describing a coal-black steed, “dangled 
rings of fine gold, and ... it was adorned with 
trappings of gold.” Paes(«£. 1520) describes a room 
in the palace at Vijayanagar completely lined (“I 
do not say’‘gilded,’ but ‘lined’ inside”) with gold, 
containing a bed “ with a railing of pearls a span 
wide.” A shctstra on ship-building mentions the 
garlands of pearls and gold hung from the carved 
prows. 

There are also certain frequent forms of decorat¬ 
ing the body by means of painting or tattooing; for 
example, the fingers and the soles of the feet oi 
women are stained a clear red with henna 'l' 
tattooing is a common practice; and seota kp s 
are applied by both men and women, chie.ny.10 ihe 
forehead, b)r which their form of faith can be tea > m 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

at a glance. In the same way, after the example of 
Shiva, his devotees are smeared with ashes, which 
they use as do the worldly their paste of fragrant 
sandal-wood. 

Many jewels,and perhaps all originally, are worn 
as a protection against the evil influence of spirits 
or unlucky planets. Gems, too, are held to exercise 
directbeneficial influences on the wearer. Amulets of 
nine gems ( ncm-ratan )—zircon, cat’s-eye, sapphire, 
diamond, ruby, pearl, coral, emerald, and topaz—are 
often worn as armlets or finger-rings. A pair of 
tiger’s claws, mounted in gold or silver, and en¬ 
graved with the “five weapons of Vishnu,"are often 
worn as a talisman by Sinhalese children. Another 
common type of amulet consists of decorated tubes 
of gold or silver, to hold a written talisman, or a 
few drops of charmed oil; these are attached to 
necklaces or waist-belts, or used as armlets. Rings 
are not used as a sign of marriage, but there are 
other marks, such as a red spot on the brow, a special 
armlet, or a special form of bead worn round the 
neck (tali), indicative of the married woman, serv¬ 
ing the same purpose as a wedding-ring. 

Necklaces and rosaries of Eleocarpus seeds (Rudr- 
aksha-mala) are worn by Shaivite priests, usually 
with one large double gold bead (“Gaurl Shankar"), 

1 54 



JEWELLERY 

in the centre. An example made in Ceylon is shown 
in fig. 128, completely covered with minute mytho¬ 
logical figures in high relief. Simpler necklaces of all 
kinds of seeds and beads are worn everywhere. 

With jewellery must be reckoned the many sorts 
of glass or lac, or ivory or shell bracelets worn in 
profusion by women of all classes, beside others of 
gold and gems. Nearly all Indian bangles, of what¬ 
ever material, are stiff, and always as small as can 
possibly be squeezed over the hand. All these are 
broken on the death of a husband. What unsus¬ 
pected romance can attach to a woman’s bracelet is 
seen in the Rajput custom of “raklu-gifc." A brace¬ 
let—not necessarily valuable'—may be sent by any 
maiden or wife, on occasion of urgent need or dan¬ 
ger, to a man of her choice. He becomes her “brace¬ 
let-bound brother,” and owes her all the devotion 
and service that knight could render. The chosen 
brother returns a kuchll or bodice in token of ac¬ 
ceptance of the pledge. But no tangible reward can 
ever be his, though he may risk life and kingdom 
on her behalf; for he may never behold her, who 
must remain for ever unknown to him, as to all other 
men, save her husband and near relations. 

Perhaps the most beautiful of all Indian jewellery 
is that of Jaffna in Ceylon. Here, and in bouthern 
155 




ARTS © CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
India, we meet with a great variety of gold chains, 
very light in weight and very rich in their effect. The 
beads are always hollow ; sometimes shaped like 
seedsor fruits, sometimes sphericalandmade'ofwires 
and grains (fig. 121). The clasps, decorated in the 
same way with wire and pip, are unsurpassed for 
beauty of design and workmanship (fig. 120). Be¬ 
side this art of filigree there is the very important 
method known as “gold-embedding'’ (figs. 123,129), 
usually applied to flat surfaces, such as those of pen¬ 
dants. The thin gems, usually rubies, are embedded 
in wax in a slender framework backed by a plain gold 
plate; the spaces between the gems are then filled 
in with soft gold, gradually moulded by the tool to 
form a firm narrow bezel. This is the ‘only form of 
encrustation with gems that rivals or surpasses the 
splendour of enamel, the use of which is quite un¬ 
known in the south of India. 

Another fine type of Dravidian jewellery is the 
beaten gold-work, on a basis of wax; the effect of 
solidity and richness is here again combined with 
small intrinsic cost and light weight. As justly re¬ 
marked by Sir George Birdwood, the Hindus “by 
their consummate skill and thorough knowledge 
and appreciation of the conventional decoration of 
surface, contrive to give to the least possible weight 

i S 6 





JEWELLERY 

of metal, and to gems, commercially absolutely val¬ 
ueless, the highest possible artistic value. . . This 
character of Indian jewellery is in remarkable con¬ 
trast with modern European jewellery, in which the 
object of the jeweller seems to be to bestow the least 
amount of work on the greatest amount of metal.” 
Much of the refinement and splendour of Indian jew¬ 
ellery depends on the use of cabochon cut stones, 
which reveal all their colour; when, as modern fa¬ 
shion dictates, facetted stones are introduced, the re¬ 
sult is immediately thin and flashy. Of fen' educated 
Indians can it now be said that they wear jewellery 
worth a second glance; for the modern work is all 
copied from the trade catalogues of Europe. Incom¬ 
parably finer' existing work is often ruthlessly melt¬ 
ed down to make the more fashionable “improved 
jewellery” of to-day. 

TheKandyan Sinhalese jewellery is closely related 
to Dravidian types, since the goldsmiths and design¬ 
ers are mostly of Indian extraction; yet it lacks d-e 
demoniacelementwhichsometimesappea. ?m£ v R 
Indian art, and there are many local forms, such as 
thepepper-spike garland and peculiar rings and e<n - 
rings. The finger-rings of Kandyan chief- me <• 
markable for their huge size, rivalled nm It 'v 
mirror thumb-rings of the H industan da i n n •<, i i 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

Many of the pendants are fine examples of “ gold- 
embedding”; none exceeding in splendour the great 
bird,4|- inches across the wings, illustrated in fig. 129; 
here the eyes are sapphires, the lowest row of stones 
and seven others are emerald or green zircon, and 
all the others ruby. The silver waist-chains are es¬ 
pecially characteristic ; one kind is made of twisted 
wire, with a heavy clasp, another of interlocked fili¬ 
gree beads, the largest in the centre, and small ones 
on either side, the former kind being worn by men, 
the latter (fig. 127) by women. 

The best general idea of the northern Hindu 
jewellery will begathered from the Headof Krishna, 
and A Miisician (frontispiece and fig. 71). It will 
be noticed that a man can wear as much jewellery as 
a woman, or more, and that many forms are com¬ 
mon to both. The sarpesh, or jewelled aigrette, worn 
in the turban, belongs to men only. Krishna wears 
a single pearl as a nose-ring; but the musician, a 
large gold ring with pearls and stones. The earrings 
worn by both are of the sort called karn-phul\ but 
a more characteristic man’s form consists of a plain 
gold ring, rather thin, on which are threaded two 
pearls and an emerald, compared by Bana to white 
jasmine flowers andgreen leaves. Other rings, called 
blrbali , are enamelled. No Indian finger-rings are 
15S 




ENAMELS 

more beautiful than those of Jaipur, which are usual¬ 
ly both gem-set and enamelled (figs. 124,125). The 
frontal pendants are most attractive; Sana speaks 
of them “dancing upon her forehead and kissing her 
hair parting.” Many of these old Hindu forms were 
adopted also by the Mughals. 

Enamelling is essentially a Northern Indian art, 
and in origin probably not Indian at all. Yet it has 
attained such perfection as to be fairly reckoned 
amongst the master-crafts of India. Enamellers from 
Lahore were brought by Man Singh to Jaipur in 
the 16th century, and even now the crude enamel 
is obtained in lumps from Lahore; the Hindu crafts¬ 
men of Jaipur cannot prepare the colours for them- 
. selves. No en'amelling in the world is more splendid 
in design and pure in colour than the old Jaipur 
j.work on gold and silver plate, the sword furniture and 
jewellery. The Jaipur craftsmen (Hindus) have also 
settled in Delhi, where are the chief jewellers’ shops 
of all Northern India at the present day. The Jaipur 
enamel, like all other Indian varieties, is of the kind 
called cliamplevi, that is, the enamel occupies cer¬ 
tain hollows excavated in the surface of the metal. 
In the best and richest work, only a narrow band oi 
the original metal separates one colourfromanother. 
The ground colour is a delicate ivory white, agamst 
159 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
which the brilliant reds and greens standout to great 
advantage. Without this white background the effect 
is far less harmonious. One of the finest old examples 
is a scent-spray in the possession of Seth Narottam 
Goculdass of Bombay; there areothersplendidpieces 
in the English and many of the Rajput royal col- 
lections, especially Jaipur and Chamba, and in the 
Museum at South Kensington; an armlet with re¬ 
presentations of Rama, Lakshmi, Sita, and Hanu- 
man, is illustrated in fig. 126. Though the modern 
work is technically and in colour almost equal to the 
old, it is no longer applied to serious purposes, but 
rather to trivial ornaments and trinkets which 
delight the tourist. 

















CHAPTER SIX 

WOODWORK 





CHAPTER SIXTH WOODWORK 

EXCEPT FOR STOOLS AMD BEDS, THE 
Indians scarcely use furniture. They have, on the 
other hand, everywhere excelled in the architectural 
applications of woodwork, and until quite recently 
in shipbuilding. All Indian architecture was once 
wooden, and even where this is not still the case, the 
wooden forms survive in stone. The workers in wood 
and stone are of one and the same caste. Except in 
a few places where stone abounds (eg. Jaipur, Gwa- 
liar) domestic architecture has remained wooden to 
this day ; very striking work in local styles may be 
seenin Ceylon, Southern India, Gujarat, Kathiawar, 
Nepal, Kashmir,and the Himalayas generally. The 
carpenter is thus essentially an architect, as appears 
already in the Alinachitta Jataka, which describes 
a village of 500 carpenters who made their living by 
going to the up-Ganges foreststo cut the framework 
of one- and two-story houses, and returning down¬ 
stream to erect the houses thus prepared in villages 
along the banks. Even when stone came mto more 
general use, it was largely in the form o r p T ,3 on 
the ground floor, supportinga wood-framed Dmlamg 
above. Roofing was often highly el, ooia^a, both 
in structure and ornament, with carvea. rafters or 
beautiful pendants. The oldest knoun remain < r 
Indian woodwork is the framing at the entrance to 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
one of the big chaityas at Karli. The most striking 
wooden forms, however, are the pillars, which vary 
from the simplest supports, quite plain and severe, 
like those of the earliest caves, to the most complex 
forms, carved, or less often turned; while the capit¬ 
als or brackets are shaped into pendent lotus and 
tasselled forms, often massed one above the other, 
and sometimes provided with lateral struts carved 
as figures of horsemen or elephants (fig. 97). Simil¬ 
ar forms are characteristic of doorways (fig. 143). 
The oldest type of door consistsof asolid adze-hewn 
leaf without hinges, but with dowels in the same fit¬ 
ting into sockets of the stone or wooden frames. 
From this there are all transitions to the most elab¬ 
orate carved and panelled doors of the Panjab, Raj- 
putana, Gujarat, Mysore, Travancore, and other 
parts of Southern India, and Ceylon. The oldest ex¬ 
isting examples appear to be the Chitor doors, now 
kept in the Ajmer mosque of Kwaja Sahib. The 
most splendid carving appears also on the balconies, 
doorways, and window frames of Western India (fig. 
142). Nearly all old work is in comparatively low 
relief, and, however rich, in good taste ; some of it 
is so flat as to be properly described as chip-carving. 
All modern effort, on the contrary, is directed to¬ 
wards elaborate undercutting; no examples of this 
164 




WOODWORK 

could be more degraded than die popular Kashmir 
walnut tables, of which the surface is covered with 
realistic chenar leaves so deeply undercut as to make 
the table absolutely useless as a table. 

Perforated windows are everywhere highly char¬ 
acteristic, as in all Oriental countries where it is de¬ 
sired to admit light and air without destroying priv¬ 
acy. The southern forms (figs. 145,146) are usually of 
solid wood, perforated with designs that are more of¬ 
ten floral than geometrical, and also include animal 
and figure subjects. Northern windows and balcony 
screens, especially in the Panjab and Kashmir, are 
made of many smallpiecesofwooddowelled together, 
and sowell fitted-that evenwhen the frame is remov¬ 
ed they do not fall apart. These geometrical forms, 
called pinjra, have a markedly Arabic character, re¬ 
miniscent of Cairo (fig. 142); but old Dravidian and 
Chalukyan stonework shows that built-up/iS/Aof this 
kind are also indigenousinthesouth (fig. 88). Ceylon 
windows are either just like doors, with solid leaves 
fitted into a wooden frame, or consists of frameo. 
openings fitted with turned wooden pilhi^ ' ash 
mir is noted for its geometric panelkc’ red " " 

pine, admirably fitted and often beaul full, ivtuo 
All over India, indeed, it is usual for 1 1 r • <- 

be more or less freely coloured, and trie s t nu - 
165 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
of much of the stone-carving under cover. The sub¬ 
ject of wood inlay is dealt with in another chapter. 

Amongst the most important old structures in 
wood were bridges, of which the seven spanning the 
river Jhelam at Srinagarare striking examples, built 
up of huge logs laid horizontally and able to resist 
the heavy spring floods. Several bridges are record¬ 
ed in the old Ceylon chronicles; one is described as 
“of exceeding great beauty, that could be passed 
by elephants and horses and chariots and footmen.” 

It is not generally realised that India has been a 
country of great maritime enterprise, and that much 
of her overseas trade has been carried in vessels of 
local construction. Ships are mentioned even in the 
Rig-Vedaa.nd constantly in the later literature, especi¬ 
ally in the Jcitakas ; there are also Shilpashastras in 
which their forms and purposes are described in de¬ 
tail. The Ceylon chronicles speak of ships carrying 
as many as 800 passengers, and some are mentioned 
in the Jatakas carrying 500 cart-loads of goods, and 
800 cubits in length. From the earliest stone sculp¬ 
tures onwards there are many representations of 
ships in Indian art; they have figure-heads of all 
kinds of animals and birds. 

The greatest period of Indian shipbuilding, how¬ 
ever, must have been the Imperial age of the Guptas 
166 



WOODWORK 

and Harshavardhana, when die Indians possessed 
great colonies in Pegu, Cambodia, java, Sumat¬ 
ra, and Borneo, and trading settlements in China, 
Japan, Arabia, and Persia. Amongst the Javanese 
sculptures there are many representations of ships, 
showing their framing, and noticeable for the out- 
riggers, necessitated by their narrow and top-heavy 
build (fig. 141). These outriggers are still charac¬ 
teristic of the beautiful Ceylon fishing-boats; and 
when much sail is carried, some of the crew climb out 
on to them. 

Many notices in the works of European traders 
and adventurers in the 15th and 16th centuries show 
that the Indian ships of that day were larger than 
their own; Purchas, for example, mentions one met 
by a Captain Saris in the Red Sea, of 1200 tons 
burden, about three times the size of the largest 
English ships then made (1611). 

Another important kind of carpentry is exempli¬ 
fied in the very varied cars and chariots, from those 
of the gods and kings, down to the heav\ co m 
carts with almost solid wheels drawn lv\ \ ) 1 c 0 c> 
and the light Ceylon “hackeries” dm' m ice, m 
bulls. Representations of all these tjpc ^ c mm 
mon in the sculpture and painting. l c ' c ) i- 

gods in which the images are carried i , r t 1 ^ 1 0 
167 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
on holydays are most elaborate structures literally 
covered with mythological carvings. They are usu¬ 
ally drawn by elephants or by hundreds of men pull¬ 
ing long ropes. Accidents which have taken place 
at Purl have given rise to the myth of the “car of 
Juggernaut” (Jagannatha, “Lord of the World”), 
beneath the wheels of which the pilgrim devotees 
were supposed to throw themselves. 

Chairs and thrones have been always familiar to 
Indians, but were used only by kings; others, ac¬ 
cording to their rank, sat on low stools or on the 
ground. The stools are either of cane, shaped like 
an hour-glass, a form from which a typical pedes¬ 
tal of metal and stone images has been derived, or 
of wood, and three-legged or four-legged ( chauki ). 
But furniture forms a most unimportant element in 
the Indian culture, where all the ordinary business 
of life is conducted on the ground; in an ordinary- 
house, for instance, there will be found but empty 
rooms, the floor covered with a.cotton darl or cloth, 
and provided with big cylindrical cushions; and only 
perhaps when meals are served will a small stool, a 
few inches high, be used. But it is not infrequent 
for such a house to be also provided with a swing 
or seatsuspended from theceiling; the same method 
is adopted for cradles. Beds (charpai) are four-legged, 

168 



WOODWORK 

strung with rattan or webbing; the legs assume arch¬ 
itectural forms, or may be turned, and are then often 
painted or lacquered. Someof thebest wood-carving 
is to be found inthe lowheadpieces morticed into the 
bed-legs which project above the frame (fig. 144). 
Nevertheless, everyone is well accustomed to sleep 
quite comfortably on the ground or a hard bench. 
Almost all modern Indian furniture intended for 
European use is bad in design, workmanship, and 
decoration ; but there existed in the 17th century in 
the west and south, including Ceylon, a good “Indo- 
Portuguese ” style, especially well illustrated in the 
great wooden chests, with handsome brass fittings, 
Indian carpenters, as in the case of so many of the 
other crafts, can still do admirable work, when they 
are asked to do so and when they are properly paid. 

Of all Indian carpenters’ work, perhaps the most 
admirable appears in the making of musical instru¬ 
ments. It would be impossible .0 improve on the 
perfection of form and appropriate decoration of the 
Tanjore iamburas and vinas, as they arc ear ik 
made, whilethereis scarcely any pan of 1 no,? , h e 
clever instrument makers cannot still be uisco vereo. 
The great age of Indian music v hs pioi ?bi '-in _ 
ago as the 5th century a.d. : but many msti umwiis 
wereinuse long before that.of foi ms s mu ■>> < 1 < - 

169 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

now seen. In particular, the vma is the classic solo 
instrumentof H induculture, carried always by Saras- 
vatT, goddess of learning and science, and by the 
rishi Narada and by various raginis (fig. 78.) The 
tambtira\sx\s&& solely as an accompaniment to song, 
and, like the vtna, often represented in the Rajput 
drawings (fig. 74). Next in importance to these are 
the several kinds of drums. 

Quite an important craft is that of inlaying wood 
with metal, usually brass. The best example of this 
is the tar-kashi or wire-inlay of Mainpuri and else¬ 
where in Bengal. The work is done on hard black 
shisham wood; the elaborate geometrical design is 
first incised, then the flat wire laid and hammered 
into the incisions, while the innumerable dots and 
points are minute coils of wire twisted up on the 
point of a needle, and inserted in small punched holes; 
the surface is subsequently filed over and polished. 
The objects to which this sort of decoration was for¬ 
merly applied included wooden clogs for bathers, 
pen-cases, Koran-stands, kitchen rollers, and the 
like; now it is used chiefly for photo-frames and 
work-boxes; and, more satisfactorily, for the decora¬ 
tion of doors, of which there are good examples in 
the town hall of Bulandshahr. Good work is also 
done at Chinniot and elsewhere in the Panjab, where 
170 



WOODWORK 

the art originated in the decoration of camel-panrii- 
ers, but is now chiefly applied to screens. Here, as 
also in Calcutta, the inlay is not confined to wire, but 
includes larger plates of metal. 

Ivory inlaying and marquetry are described in the 
chapters on “Ivory” and “Minor Mughal Crafts.” 





CHAPTER SEVEN 

IVORY 





CHAPTER SEVENTH IVORY 

THE EARLIEST RECORD OF INDIAN 
work in ivory is an inscription of about 200 to t 50 b.c. 
at SanchT, which states that one of the piers of the 
southern gateway was executed anclcledicated by the 
ivory carvers of BhTlsa. It is thus apparent that they 
were already organised as a guild, and worked stone 
as well as ivory. In the “ Little Clay Cart” composed 
by King Shudraka, perhaps in the 5th century a.d., 
there is mention of the “high ivory portal” of a cour¬ 
tesan’s house. The Mahavamsa in the 12th century 
speaks of a royal park in Ceylon railed with “pillars 
decorated with rows of images made of ivory,” and 
another park in which was a pavilion “wrought with 
ivory.” Ivory puppets are mentioned in the Kama- 
sutra and in the Malatimadhava. 

Paes (a Portuguese traveller), about 1520, thus 
describes a room in theVijayanagar palace: “In this 
house there is a room with pillars of carved stone; 
this room is all of ivory, as well the chamber as the 
walls, from top to bottom, and the pillars of the cross 
timbers at the top had roses and flowers of lotuses 
all of ivory, and all well executed, so that there could 
not be better,—it is so rich and beautiful that you 
would hardly find anywhere another such,' 

Apart from these scanty references, there can be 
littledoubt that ivory-carving and turning have been 
175 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

flourishing Indian arts from early, times. Unfortun¬ 
ately, however, there does not exist a single example 
of veryancient work, unless we reckon the terra-cot¬ 
ta medallion of fig. 18, which is almost certainly the 
impression of an ivory die. This is of the 2nd century 
b.c., like the Sanchi gates and Bharhut railing,and in 
a similar style, only finer in workmanship. The ivory 
chessmenfound at Brahmanabad,Sind,may be of the 
8th century a.d. The inlaid doorways of the Ashar 
Mahall at Bijapur (Musulman) were made in 1580. 

Buddhist Ceylon is far the richest source for later 
work, some of which must be as old as the x 5th cent¬ 
ury. There are very fine collections in the Colombo 
Museum and at South Kensington. The Sinhalese 
traditions are closely related to those of Travan- 
core,and preserve old Indian motifs, generally simil¬ 
ar to those of Chalukyan stone-carving, rather than 
modern Dravidian forms. An enumeration of objects 
from the Kandyan provinces of Ceylon will give an 
idea of the varied applications: there are images of 
Buddha and other statuettes and dolls; architectural 
applications, especially to the jambs and lintels of 
vihara doorways (fig. 135); handles of daggers and 
knives, and of water-dippers (of which there is a fine 
example at South Kensington); combs; boxes made 
of carved plaques connected by metal fittings (fig. 

176 



IVORY 

136); book-covers; compasses (fig. 133); guards of 
fencing-foils; potters’ dies—all carved; and of turned 
work, many sorts ofboxes, fan handles, knifehandies, 
dice and pawns for games; scent-sprays (hollow, and 
so thin as to be easily compressible); drums, book- 
buttons, and still other forms. The best carvings in 
low relief are the figures of guardian devatas (fig. 
134) placed on either side of the threshold of vihara 
doors; while many of the combs are of admirable 
workmanship and design. Horn is put to similar uses, 
the chief objects being combs, pill-boxes, and powder 
horns. The combs and pill-boxes are occasionally in¬ 
laid with ivory pegs, or coloured lac; the powder 
horns are carved or mounted in silver. 

Much moreartistic thantheratherstiffivorystatu¬ 
ettes of 18th-century Ceylon are certain works from 
Nayagarh in Orissa, made by Gobind Ratan about 
1850. These have beenoftenillustrated,and deserv¬ 
edly praised; one, a figure of Krishna, with rich and 
detailed ornament, is shown in fig. 132. 

There are many forms of ivory inlay or marquetry, 
and applique. There still remain good examples of 
the latter in the palace at Tanjore, from which so 
many treasures of art have been taken away. There 
is a small car, with ivory rails and overlaidwilh ivory 
plaques, of which a part is illustrated in fig. 138. wo 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

chairs veneered with ivory well exemplify the meth¬ 
od of further decoration with coloured lac (fig. 137). 
In this most effective work the surface of the ivory 
is first engraved, then coloured lac is run into the in- 
cisionsbymeansof ahotbolt, andfinalfythesurface is 
scraped and polished, leaving a clear design in black, 
red, or green on the ivory ground. The method is 
nowhere moresuccessfully applied than in the decor¬ 
ation of the beautiful musical instruments {vlna and 
tambura) which are still made by the Tanjore car¬ 
penters. A still more important centre for veneered 
ivory is Vizagapatam, where thestyleofcarvingislow 
and flat, and ivory-staining as well as lac-inlay is also 
practised; the Tanjore and Vizagapatam styles are 
thus closely related. The same technique is practised 
inMysoreand atMatarain Ceylon, where the.design 
isusually in black. In Kandy, and in Raj putana, turn¬ 
ed ivory boxes and other lathe-works are decorated 
withsimpler motifs, lines, circles, and dots. Lac-inlay 
is also applied to the ornamenting of shell or ivory 
bracelets in several localities, and to shell trumpets 
(. sankh ), of which a fine example is illustrated from 
Ceylon (fig. 140). 

The Travancore ivories, which closely resemble 
those of Ceylon, are represented by the fine casket 
of fig. 136 at South Kensington; the dancing figures 
178 



IVORY 

could be exactly paralleled from old sculptures. Some 
of the most modern Travancore ivory, of which ex¬ 
amples were shown at the great Delhi Exhibition in 
1902-3, is equal in design and workmanship to al¬ 
most any old work. This purity of design was especi- 
all}/" shown in a money-counting board, with holes for 
a hundred small coins, and a handle of addorsed leo- 
griffs and floriated ornament. Images in the round, 
shrines, and other large works are also produced. It 
is interesting to contrast this purity of feeling pre¬ 
served in Travancore work with the degeneration 
in design characteristic of Mysore and Ceylon. In 
Mysore the conventional designs have been replac¬ 
ed by realistic jungle scenes, which aim rather at 
pictorial than decorative qualities,* while in Ceylon, 

* I cannotresist quoting here a descriptionfromtheDelhi catalogue: 
An ivory brush-back “ portrays gracefully every feature of jungle life 
and sport. The foreground, distance,and clouds are all faithfully treat¬ 
ed, and, in a manner that is most surprising,every detail is shown,and 
still the atmosphere of high-class painting has not been materially dis¬ 
turbed, nor the picture overburdened” (Sir George Watt, Indian Art 
at Delhi). The reader may be interested in a few more criticisms 
originating in the “atmosphere of high-class painting.” The present 
Principal of the Calcutta School of Art dismisses the painting of Aj- 
anta as “more decorative than pictorial, so that it can hardly be class¬ 
ed among the fine arts ” ( loc. cit.). Another art-school master (Bom¬ 
bay), has lamented the “massive proportions and primitive character 
of Indian jewellery.” The author of the only systematic _History of 
Fine Art in India atid Ceylon , wrote only five years ago that “ after 

179 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLQN 

though old motifs are retained, the whole energy of 
the carver is devoted to obtaining rounded forms and 
deep undercutting, producing costly works in poor 
taste. Only the ivory-turning of Ceylon survives as 
good as ever, though on a small scale, and on the 
verge of disappearing from lack of demand. 

The older Mysore ivories are truly magnificent, 
especially a chair-back of the 17th century, consist¬ 
ing of pierced tree and animal panels, surmounted 
byadesignoftwistingmonsters.notunlike the wood¬ 
en bed-head from Ceylon illustrated in fig. 144. My¬ 
sore is also a centre of ivory inlay and inlay of black 
lac, said to be superior to any of the better known 
work of the Panjab; and of the greater part of the 
trade in carved sandal-wood. 

The architectural uses of ivory are usually con¬ 
fined to the decoration-of doors, of which a fine ex¬ 
ample from Ceylon has already been referred to. At 
Bikaner, in the old palace, there are wooden doors 

300 A.D.: Indian sculpture, properly so called, hardly deserves to be 
reckoned as art.” (It is fair to add that this view has since been modi¬ 
fied. ) Sir George Birdvvood has compared some of the finest Buddha 
sculptures to a boiled suet pudding. Baden-Powell, writing of the arts 
of the Panjab (including Kangra), remarks : “ In a country like this 
we must not expect to find anything that appeals to mind or deep feel¬ 
ing” (italics mine). These quotations will serve to show what sort of 
“ experts ” have had to do with the study of Indian art, and with the 
artistic education offered to young Indians. 

180 




IVORY 

of which the leaves are covered with a raised net¬ 
work of ivory applique, but this northern art is not, 
as in the south, pure old Hindu, ran - m-<= i-hq n half 
Mughal. There are doors veneered with ivo^in the 
palace at Amber, and in the Bari Mahail a? ! j Jai¬ 
pur, where there also used to be made quantities of 
beautifully decorated ivory thumb-guards Jot- arch¬ 
ers. Jodhpur is the centre of a trade m ivory bangles, 
ink-green and black lac. 

Ivory inlay on'wood is a characteristic art of the 
Panjab. The best examples are the inlaid doors of 
the main entrance to the Golden Temple at Amrit¬ 
sar. At Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur it has also been 
a flourishing craft, especially in its application to the 
decoration of musical instruments, and to other seri¬ 
ous ends; but now if one inquires from a Jalandhar 
craftsman what such and such an article in his shop 
may be for, he will answer, “To put on the mantel¬ 
piece.” 

The ivory work of Murshiclabad in Benga.I con¬ 
sists of objects for the tourist trade hY nr of 
Durga for the local market, all m r in ,i m 
style and quite modern. 

Thebetter-knownwork of Dohu i- ■! <> - u 

modern, and though in Brahman nanrb h c ^ 
up almost entirely in response to o,. 



ARTS G? CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

A favourite subject is an elephant loaded with guns, 
camp furniture, etc,, each article attached by a chain 
cut from the solid ivory, each link not bigger than a 
pin’s head. Theworkhas scarcely anyartistic merit. 

It is worth while to remark that a good deal of 
the material used for dagger-handles and similar pur¬ 
poses is not Indian or African ivory, but is known 
as “fish-tooth,” most of it being really fossil ivory 
from Siberia. Old examples prove that there used 
to exist an overland trade in this material. Hippo¬ 
potamus and walrus ivory may also have found its 
way to India by land routes. It is remarkable how 
little the question of distance from a source of raw 
material, or from a market, appears to affect an old 
manufacture, as, for example, in the cases of the Ma- 
sulipatam cotton printing still done for the Persian 
market, shell-work at Dacca, far from the sea, and 
ebony-carving at Nagina, far from any forests where 
ebony grows. Manyof these now isolated industries 
aresurvivals of morewidelyextended crafts, and it is 
clear that communications in ancient India, if not as 
rapid, were scarcely less free than they are now. 

An adequate history of Indian work in ivory still 
remains to be written, and perhaps no other craft 
would throw more light on the history and migra¬ 
tions of designs in India than this. 

182 



CHAPTER EIGHT 


STONE 





CHAPTER EIGHTH 

STONE, EARTHENWARE, GESSO, LAC 
AT A VERY EARLY DATE THE HINDUS 
possessed great skill inpolishingand piercing thehar- 
destgems; beadsof ruby andsapphireareto be seen in 
all collections. There are also a few important exam¬ 
ples of engraved seals. Perhaps the most remarkable 
ancient Hindu work in stone is the unique jade tor¬ 



toise, 17|-incheslong,from Allahabad, now i n the Brit¬ 
ish Museum; or can this work be of Chinese origin? 

The best known of the old works in crystal are the 
relic shrines which have been found in many srflpas. 
Of much later date are the fine stock-drill weights 
and sandal grinding-stones of Ceylon, The mod¬ 
ern turned soapstone cups and platters of Calcutta 
are of very elegant forms, which, were they antique, 
would attract much attention. 









ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

Nothing like china has ever been made in India. 
Even glazed pottery, previous to the Musulmantile- 
work, occurs quite exceptionally and sporadically 
(Peshawar, Anuradhapura, Gwaliar, Vellore). The 
modern glazed pottery of Multan, Jaipur, and Bom 
bay is a recent development of Musulman tile-craft, 
mainly for tourist consumption. The unglazed earth¬ 
enware, on the contrary, all over India, is of the re¬ 
motest antiquity, in form and technique unaltered 
since prehistoric times. The forms are of exception¬ 
al simplicity and dignity, while the decorative orna¬ 
ment, especially in Ceylon, is of great interest as pre¬ 
serving many archaic (Mykenean or Early Asia¬ 
tic) motifs. Few types are designed for purposes of 
eating or drinking, for an earthen vessel thus once 
used is defiled, and must be thrown away; the 
Hindus invariably eat from leaves, or brass or silver 
or stone vessels which can be perfectly cleansed. 

The most usual forms are designed for carrying 
water (fig. 147), and for storing grain, spices, and 
even clothing. TheSinhalesetypeshavebeenstudied 
in most detail; besidethose already mentioned, there 
are severalinterestingformsof architectural earthen¬ 
ware, such as tiles (plain roofing tiles and eaves tiles 
decorated with lions, etc.,fig. 148), finials,and lamps 
and lampstands. The methods of decoration are also 
186 











EARTHENWARE 

of much interest, and include slip-painting and in¬ 
cised or stamped ornament. The incised ornament 
is of an exceedingly archaic type; while the stamped 
pattern most frequently seen is the pointed bo- leaf. 
Pottery painting is the work of painters, not of those 
who make the pots. 

I n Southern I ndia it has been customary from time 
immemorial to construct large earthenware animals 
and figures of men and gods, which are placed in 
sacred proves near human dwellings—a survival of 
primitive sculpture in impermanent materials. Sim- 
-‘W forms are extensively used in the decoration of 
temples. The terra-cotta figures of Lucknow have 
?! zzc , seen mentioned. Amongst the most fre¬ 
quent finds on old Buddhist sites are baked terra¬ 
cotta impressions of seals, usually with the represen¬ 
tation of a stupa, and with inscriptions. The oldest 
and most beautiful of the terra-cotta medallions is 
illustrated from a drawing in fig. 18. Ancient baked 
earthenwarehand-blocks for cotton printing are also 

known. , . . , . 

Many parts of India are noted for fine woik m 
stucco, carvedjust before it sets. Walls are also coat¬ 
ed with exceedingly fine and hard white cement; the 
inner wall of the gallery at Siginya, in oeylon, for 
example, remains as smooth to-day as when it was 
187 







ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
finished fourteen hundred years ago, though expos¬ 
ed to rain and air : even the names scribbled on it 
so long ago are still clearly legible. 

Ofsimilar character, but generally more trivial ap¬ 
plication, is theart of ornamenting woodenand other 
surfaces with gesso. Here the moulding material is 
applied with a brush, like paint, and subsequently 
varnished,gilded, or painted. Bikaner, Tonk, Hyder¬ 
abad, and the Karnul district are the chief centres. 

Lac-work is quite distinct in character from Japan¬ 
ese lacquer, inasmuch as the lac is not applied with 
a brush, but in a solid or half-melted form. In India 
it is applied mainly to turned woodwork, the stick of 
coloured lac being held against the revolving wood, 
and adhering by the heat of friction. Brightly col¬ 
oured toys, nestsof boxes,andbed-legsarethusmade 
in many districts. Not infrequently, and especially 
in Jaipur, Hoshiarpur, and the Maidive Islands, a 
coating of several layers of lac of different colours 
is thus laid on, and then incised to corresponding 
depths, so as to show a pattern in various colours. 
A thin layer of lac is also sometimes used, in Sind 
and in Ceylon, as a protection for a water-colour un¬ 
der-painting. More peculiar is the finger-nail work 
of Ceylon, in which the coloured lac is drawn out 
into long threads and applied to a warm surface, to 



LAC 

make quite elaborate patterns. In this case the form 
of the surface to be decorated may be either flat or 
cylindrical. The thumb-nail is used to nip off each 
piece of lac thread applied, hence the name. 






CHAPTER NINE 


'EXTILES, EMBROIDERY, &c. 






CHAPTER NINTH TEXTILES, 

EMBROIDERY, COSTUME, &c. 

WEAVING IS AT ONCE THE OLDEST 
and the most important of the industrial arts of India. 
The stuffs may be considered from the standpoint 
of material and use, and then of decoration, either 
on the loom (tapestry, brocade, etc.) or after removal 
from theloom (dyeing, printing,embroidery,etc.). All 
of these arts have a rich and wide development in 
India, and Persia; the materials exported from these 
countries for at least three thousand years past have 
been the main vehicle of Asiatic influence on West¬ 
ern arts (Crete, Ionia, Sicily, the Crusades, Venice, 
East India Company, etc.). 

The great majority of Indians wear cotton gar¬ 
ments, and it is from India that all such names as 
chintz, calico , shawl, and bandana have come into 
English since the 18th century.. 'Weaving is fre¬ 
quently mentioned in th e Vedas, and cotton, silk, and 
woollen stuffs in the epics. Silk was certainly im¬ 
ported from China as early as the 4th century b.c., 
but it is probable that no industry was established un¬ 
til very much later. Megasthenes describesthe cotton 
garments of the Indians as “worked in gold and 
ornamented with various stones,’’and, he says, “they 
wear also flowered garments of the finest muslin,’ 

_ suc h as are still made at Dacca. The old sculp- 

193 *3 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA '& CEYLON 
tures and paintings show brocaded materials, as well 
as muslins so filmy and transparent that only the 
lines of the borders or the folds show that the figures 
are clothed at all. The robes are usually woven in the 
shape and size required for use, and only rarely and 
locally cut into fitting garments, so that tailoring 
(apart from embroidery) is a comparatively unim¬ 
portant craft. 

The typical garments of uncut woven stuff are, 
for men, the dhoti (like a divided skirt, fromthewaist 
to below the knees), a shawl or scarf, and a turban 
( pagri , sofa ); for women, a sari (worn rather like a 
dhoti, but brought over one or both shoulders, and 
sometimes over the head also), with or without a 
bodice. This is the usual dress from Bengal and 
Bombay southwards, and for some purposes, espec- 
iallyanyreligious observance, also in Rajputana and 
the Panjab. In the latter areas, however, the out¬ 
door and usual costume of Hindu men consists of 
trousers, tunic {kurta), coat ( choga , etc.), and turban; 
and of women, striped trousers, full skirt, bodice 
( choll ), or tunic ( kurta ), and veil ( dupatta , chadar). 
Details vary from district to district and village to 
village; the form of the turban always serving to 
distinguish the men of one place from those of any 
other. The Bengalis, however, wear small embroid- 
194 




TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, &c. 

ered white caps, and no turbans. The use of trousers 
and long coats is not ancient Indian; butit goes much 
further back than the Mughal period, and may be of 
Greeko-Bactrian or Huna origin. A turban piece 
may be 3 -yards square, as in the south; 30 yards 
by 1, as in the Panjab; or in some places still longer 
and narrower; a dhoti averages 5 yards by iQ and a 
sari 5 to 8 yards by Needless to remark, there 
is much art in wearing garments which are not fast¬ 
ened by any stitch, pin, or knot. 

Cotton-weavingisthetypical textile industryofln- 
dia. 11 must have been once a true domestic industry 
(as it is to this day in Assam),practised even by ladies 
of rank, or at least as a part of the household work; 
but in most parts of India weaving, like embroidery, 
was already in Buddhist times a distinct profession, 
and carried on largely, though not exclusively, by 
men. The Indian loom is horizontal, the heddles 
being operated by the weaver’s feet, Quite plain 
material was at one time produced everywhere, and 
there are still perhaps as many as five million hand 
weavers in India. To give some idea o* lucal styles, 
we may refer more especial!'' e M c u T L 
and the Kandyan prot mcrs n A, or, X n n.u 
locality is noted for its muslins, winch .epicseut Xe 
highest development of pun iou-m' w ns. ' 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

dia. The fine muslins have received poetic names, 
such as “running water,” “woven air,” and “evening 
dew,” the last because the muslin, laid on wet grass, 
could hardly be seen. Pieces of 15 yards by 1 have 
been produced weighing only 900 grains; the finest 
yarn may be worth as much as £3, 3s. an ounce. 
Muslins are still made up to as much as £4 a yard. 
But it is not only for very fine plain material, but 
also for flowered muslins, that Bengal is famous; 
they are still much worn by the ladies of Bengal, 
those, at least, who have the good taste to avoid the 
corsets and blouses of Europe. 

The flowered muslins are loom-tapestries; that is 
to say, the substance of the cloth is shuttle-work, but 
the patterns, usually small flower-sprays semi , are 
inserted by hand as the work proceeds, a tiny bobbin 
or “needle” of the coloured or gold thread being 
passed through and round the warp threads in the 
manner of tapestry. 

The Sinhalese cotton wasof verydifferentquality; 
no muslin was made, but the best stuffs were thick, 
soft, and heavy like the finest linen. The craft is pre¬ 
served in only one village. There are many simple 
traditional designs, some geometrical, others of 
flowers, animals, or very elaborate-strap-work, like 
that in Keltic manuscripts, or such as one sees at 
196 








TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, &c. 

Ravenna. The geometrical patterns are all shuttle- 
work ; the more complex designs are tapestry, as in 
the Dacca muslins. An example of the ordinary pat¬ 
tern work is given in fig. 154; while of still greaterin- 
terestare the many archaic motifs seen on the belt, fig. 
153, with their strongly old-Mediterranean aspect. 

In many parts of Southern India are made most 
beautiful muslins and silks inwoven with gold thread 
(fig. 155) for turbans and scarves. Chanderi near 
Gwaliar, Benares, Tanda in Fyzabad, and Kota are 
a few of the many other places where especially fine 
cottons have been made. The silk brocade industry 
is, however, much more typically northern, and owes 
much to Persian influences. 

Turning now to the methods of decorating cotton 
after it leaves the loom, we have first the dyeing. 
The dyes used for some purposes are fugitive, the 
dyerand washerman being employed together every 
time the turban goes to the wash. Other stuffs, es¬ 
pecially those for peasant skirts, are dyed fast red or 
blue. The most artistic dyeing in patterns, stripes,and 
dots, is done inRajputana. The dot patterns are pro¬ 
duced by knot-dyeing, bandhana , whence the name 
“ bandana ” for a spotted handkerchief. In this pro¬ 
cess, at once simple and laborious, the material is 
damped and pressed over a block on which thedesign 
197 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

is worked out in raised nails or pins, which push up 
the material in the same pattern. The cloth is next 
lifted off,and theraised portions caught bythethumb 
and forefinger nails of the girls who do the work, 
and securely tied by a string, usually coated with a 
resist paste. The thread is not cut, but passes from 
knot to knot, and can afterwards be unwound and 
used again. After the first knotting, the cloth is dyed. 
Then the process is repeated for another part of the 
pattern, and the cloth dyed again. Finally, when the 
thread is unwound and the cloth spread out, the re¬ 
quired design appears in dots of various colours on 
a ground of the colour in which the material is last 
immersed. For example, we may have a red field 
with white and yellow points, or a black field with 
white, yellow, and red points, in the first case with 
two tyings,in the second with three. There are even 
greater complications, e.g. when large white patches 
or stars are left white through several dippings, and 
then treated separately with other colours. In many 
cases the raised block is dispensed with altogether, 
and the tyer “will work rapidly and outline a bird, 
a horseman, or a flower, and pass over certain points 
in the design that require to be tied at subsequent 
stages, while carrying on a heated controversy with 
a neighbour or attending to her infant child” (Watt). 

198 



TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, & c . 

By a somewhat similar process the Marwarl turbans 
and ckadars are dyed in chevron and zigzag patterns 
of theutmost complexity. Another peculiar art of the 
Rajput dyers (Alwar, etc.) is double-dyeing, where 
muslin is coloured differently on the two sides of the 
piece. 

While tie-dyeing is quite a local craft,cotton-print¬ 
ing and dye-painting are widely spread; in these an¬ 
cient crafts the beauty of design and colouring and 
fastness of dye are alike remarkable. The cotton 
prints are the originals of all the prints and chintzes 
now familiar in Europe. The best work of compara¬ 
tively recent times has been done in the United Pro¬ 
vinces (Lucknow, etc.), the Panjab (Lahore), Raj- 
putana (Sanganlr), and other places; also in South¬ 
ern India, where dye-painting is an equally import¬ 
ant craft. But in most districts these crafts are now 
either quite degenerate in quality, or greatly reduced 
in prosperity, by the competition of cheap and inferi¬ 
or European factory goods and the wholesale piracy 
of Indian designs. 

Thedesignsareprinted byhandfrom woodblocks, 

a separate block being necessary for each colour. The 

block-printed area is covered with a resist paste if 
the ground is to be dyed. Favourite motifs are the 
cone or shawl-pattern (as fig. 195), widespread from 
199 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLO 


north to south, flower-sprays (butis) of every S( 
arranged over the ground diagonally, diapers, bir 
(especially peacocks), and continuous floral boro 
patterns (be/). A 





TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, &c. 

Fine curtains and dados are still made at Lahore, 
one of the very few instances where a school of art 
has revived or preserved an indigenous industry 
without destroying its character. 

Two examples of printing blocks are illustrated 
here, one of an elephant from Madras, the other 
taken from an earthenware block 


anterior to the 5th century A.D.from 
the Bannu district, N.W.P. 

The prevailing colours in the 
dye-painted cloths of Masulipatam, 
where a small industry survives 
from the earliest times, still produc¬ 
ing goods almost equal to thefinest 
old work, are blue (indigo) and red 
(madder), with green, yellow, and 
black on an ivory-white ground. 



The favourite designs are the tree of life, and panels 


in the form of Saracenic doorways. There is still an 


export trade in dyed cottons from Masulipatam to 


Persia. The methods are as follows: to obtain a de¬ 


sign, let us say, in yellow on red, the whole is first 
dyed yellow, then the desired pattern is drawn in hot 
beeswax with a soft steel wire brush, then the whole 
is dipped in red. Where the wax penetrates the cloth, 
it is completely protected from the red dye, so that 


201 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
when it is afterwards boiled out the pattern appears 
in yellow on red. In the same way, by repeated wax- 
ings and dyeings, a very complex design can be pre¬ 
pared in several colours. Large areas may also be 
separately brush-coloured, or partly or wholly printed 
from wood-blocks. Very often the large hand-painted 
palampores are prepared for colouring by pouncing 
the design through pricked paper stencil plates. 

The Masulipatam designs are of a Persian char¬ 
acter. But from Kalahastri, Karnapur, Pallakallo, 
and other South Indian centres there come hand- 
painted cloths of purely Hindu design. The most 
striking are those covered with mythological sub¬ 
jects, or scenes from the epics, intended for ceiling 
cloths to be used in temples, or for covering pro¬ 
cessional cars. 

Neither cotton-printingnor dye-painting are Sin¬ 
halese crafts. All the finer cloths found in Ceylon 
appear to be of Indian origin. There is evidence of 
several settlements of Indian weavers in Ceylon on 
various occasions. 

Embroidery is an important craft, for the most 
part, but not entirely in the hands of professional 
workers, who are usually men. We may take as 
typical localities for well-marked styles, Ceylon, 
Lucknow, Rajputana, and the Panjab. It is often 
202 



TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, &c. 

quite a folk-art, used to decorate the garments even 
of those who work in the fields; and the local forms 
are very clearly marked. 

The Ceylon work is almost exclusively in cotton, 
in red, blue, or white, on a blue or white ground. 
Fairly elaborate figure-work in chain-stitch is char¬ 
acteristic of some of the large betel-bags, while bo- 
leaf, lotus-petal, and continuous floral motifs appear 
in the borders. Chain and button-hole stitch are 
most frequent, while there is a considerable variety 
of binding stitchesfor edges, one of which(the “cen¬ 
tipede”) is extremely complicated, and worked in 
two or three colours. Smallhandkerchiefs are some¬ 
times worked in elaborate strap-patterns, alike on 
both sides, similar to thoseof the woven stuffs. Other 
things embroidered areflags,caps,short jackets,and 
pachisi- cloths. Very elegant plaited cords and tas¬ 
sels are prepared, the former for book-strings, the 
latter for the betel-bags. The work was mostly done 
by washermen ; more elaborate processional fans, 
trappings, and hats were made by the court tailors. 
Practically nothing of the craft now survives. 

Applique work is done everywhere; examples are 
tent-linings, cart-covers, and elephant trappings. 

Kathiawar and Kach are most important centres 
of chain-stitch embroidery. The most characteristic 
203 



ARTS e? CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

work is seen on the old satin skirts (fig. 157), em¬ 
broidered in the most brilliant silks with sprays of 
flowers and borders of flowers and birds, usually 
parrots. Many parts of Rajputana and the Panjab 
are also noteworthy for embroidered bodices. Avery 
common feature in all work of this class is the in¬ 
clusion of innumerable small discs of mirror glass 
forming part of the embroidered design, and held 
down in a circle of button-holestitching. Sometimes 
the amount of glass is such as to make the material 
uncomfortably heavy. There is also much peasant 
work in satin-stitch, the material being often com¬ 
pletely concealed by the floss-silk embroidery. 

It is noteworthy that in Gujarat and Bombay one 
meetswithalargeamountofoldandmodern Chinese 
needlework, on sari borders and jackets evidently 
prepared in China for the Indian market. It is quite 
possible that much of the Chinese influence recog¬ 
nisable here and there in Rajput art can be attribut¬ 
ed to communications by sea. 

Very fine chain-stitch embroideries (silkon cotton) 
are found in Jaipur; some of these are of Musul- 
man design (prayer mats, etc.), but the most strik¬ 
ing are the small square cushions (gaddis) used for 
protecting the knuckles from contact with the inter¬ 
ior of the shield. The subjects are Hindu—mytho- 
204 











TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, &c. 

logical, floral, geometrical designs, and animal com¬ 
bats (fig. 152). Woollen chadars embroidered in 
cross-stitch, very like old English samplers in de¬ 
sign, are made by the peasant women of Hissar and 
Bikaner. These last involve a process of counting 
threadsof thegroundmaterial, which is much further 
developed m the typical Yzxiyabphiilkarts, or flower¬ 
ed chadars or women’s head-veils. The work is al¬ 
most entirely in silk on a red cotton ground, or red 
and green on white ; but it is likely that the em¬ 
broidery itself was once entirely in cottons, when 
silk was unknown or too rare for common use. The 
perfection of the work depends on absolute accuracy 
of thread-counting, as the ground itself forms part 
of the design (fig. 151). The stitch is a pure darn¬ 
ing stitch, done from the back. The original art 
belongs to the Hindu peasants (jats) of Rohtak, Gur- 
gaon, and Delhi ; while a more elaborate develop¬ 
ment, nolongerforpeasantuse, is found in the Hazara 
district, where the same classes have been converted 
to Islam. The craft is thus distinctively Hindu in 
character. The Hazara work is no longer pindkari 
(flowered), but bdgh (garden), almost completely 
covered with work; the outlining of the elements of 
the geometrical design may be effected by a. residu¬ 
um of ground of only y-g- inch in width. The normal 
205 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
stitchisabout£-inchinlength,butthisrisesto asmuch 
as 2 inches in the gaudy monstrosities nowprepared 
for American and English tourists. 

A quite different sort of work (fig. 149) is seen in 
the well-known Chamba rumals (square handker¬ 
chiefs or small shawls); this is again a home indus¬ 
try, and for local use. The designs are borrowed 
from the Paharl paintings, and are outlined with a 
brush in Indian ink before the needlework is begun. 
There are also geometrical designs of a sampler 
fashion ; the material is cotton, the work silk satin- 
stitch. 

A very different art is the white embroidery called 
chikan^ig. 150). It is probable that the craft origin¬ 
ated in Eastern Bengal,and it is seen also in Bhopal, 
Madras, and other places; but Lucknow is the great 
modern centre, where work is done of quite remark¬ 
able beauty and distinction, and as good as any ever 
produced. Thedesignsareprintedfrom wood blocks, 
of which the chief employers possess an enormous 
stock. These blocks in themselves are of much in¬ 
terest, for the excellence of their design and work¬ 
manship, suggesting how easily an art of wood- 
engraved illustration for printed books might have 
grown up under more fortunate artistic auspices 
than those which have attended the beginnings of 
206 



TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, &c. 

Indian printing.* 

J'/iuch of the fine chikan embroidery is nowapplied 
to European purposes (blouses, dress-pieces, etc.); 
but caps, saris, and chogas are also made for Indian 
use. i he following- peculiarities appear in the best 
- 1 L '' oi k on muslin: taipchi is a simple darn- 
satch used in the cheaper work; the variety called 
o , if is ?r inserted satin-stitch in which the forms 
at ( n md outlined on the right side by minute stit- 
e, InL the thread accumulates beneath making 
T 01 n ooaque; a similar effect is produced by very 
u utcapulique called khatao\ raised work like tiny 
X oi ch knots, or inch in size, is produced by a 
minute satin-stitch; lace-like trellises (jali) are made, 
not by drawing out threads, but by a sortof veryfine 
button-holing pulling the threads aside. Portions 
of the work are often done in fine yellow tasar silk, 
the greater part always in white cotton; in the best 
examples many or all of these methods are used to¬ 
gether. All other modern Indian embroideryis spoilt 
by the use of glaring colours or too much gold, but 
this white work remains of supremeexcellence, com¬ 
parable only with the best European lace, to which 
it corresponds in purpose and effect. It may be re- 

- Indian printed books are unsurpassed for badness of paper, ink, 
press-work, type, and illustration. 

207 





ARTS 6? CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLO 

marked here that what is commonly called “go?' 
lace” in India, is woven stuff with gold thread. Thi 
manufacture of true lace in India is of quite moderff; 
introduction, and rarely proceeds further than the-: 
copying of European designs in inferior materials. 



A brief reference must be made to floor coverings 
other than woollen carpets, which are referred to in 
Part II. The familiar cotton dart is the true indi¬ 
genous carpet, much cooler to the bare foot than any 
wool-pile rug couldbe. Theordinarydizrware striped 
in two colours, generally white and blue ; but there 
are not wanting others well decorated with geomet¬ 
rical and even floral designs in several colours. An¬ 
other important industry is the weaving of grass 
208 



TEXTILES, EMBROIDERY, &c. 

3 .ts, the best of which are much more remarkable 
1 respect of cost and beauty than might be supposed 
ossibie. The Palghat mats, which are quite plain 
except for a narrow border, are almost as fine as a 
Panama hat and may cost as much as £2. The sital- 
'boJi mats of Eastern Bengal have a high reputation. 
I n Ceylon cheap mats of excellent design and brightly 
:oloured are made from the fibre of bowstring hemp, 
woven by people of low caste on a very primitive 
loom ; other mats are plaited from dyed rushes in 
very elaborate geometrical designs by women of the 
higher castes, who also prepare elegant rush bags 
and baskets. Thestrongest and most beautiful grass 
mats in the world are probably those of the Maidive 
Islands, which have archaic designs in black 
on a khaki ground. 


14 



PART TWO 


MUGHAL ART 





CHAPTER TEN 
ARCHITECTURE 








CHAPTER TENTH ARCHITECTURE 
THE MUSULMAN INVADERS OF INDIA, 
after the purely destructive period, were builders of 
mosques, palaces, and walled cities and forts, and 
tombs. The essential features of theirown tradition, 
inherited from 9th-century Baghdad, included the 
dome, pointed arch, and mlnar or tower; these, in 
India, fused with the already existing motifs of the 
same character. The history of Muhammadan archi¬ 
tecture in India begins in the 13th century, and falls 
into two periods, pre-Mughal (1193 to 1494) and 
Mughal (1494 to 1708, and later). In the first period, 
the local Hindu masons frequently used the remains 
of existing Jain or Hindu temples as their source of 
building materials: in the second, there is a closer 
fusion of foreign and indigenous tradition, creating 
the beautiful and very well-known architecture of 
the Great Mughals. 

The chief monuments of the first period are the 
remains of the splendid 13th-century mosque at 
Ajmer (fig. 158), consisting of a screen of seven 
arches, decorated with inscriptions and arabesque 
ornament: the similar but even more exquisitely 
decorated Kutb mosque of eleven arches at Delhi, 
and the great Kutb mlnar (fig. 159) beside it. Both 
mosques are largely built of materials from oldertem- 
ples, and the mlnar is mainly Hindu in its details; 

215 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA. & CEYLON 
only the plan of all these buildings is entirely Sara¬ 
cenic. AsFergusson points out,thePathans,a nation 
of soldiers equipped for conquest,brought with them 
neither artists nor architects, and “found among their 
new subjects an infinite number of artists quite cap¬ 
able of carrying out any design that might be pro¬ 
pounded to them.” A century later is the great gate¬ 
way on the south side of the Kutb mosque, where 
for the first time we meet with a true keyed arch. 

To the 15th century belongs the important local 
style of the Sharqi kings of J aunpur. Here the great 
gateways and the halls have radiating arches and 
true domes, but Hindu construction and design re¬ 
main in the smaller galleries and cloisters. Bengal 
exhibits another provincial style typically of brick 
construction and characterised by its heavy short 
pillars and the constant use of the overhanging curv¬ 
ed cornice. The most beautiful example of the Ben¬ 
gali style is the small Golden Mosque at Gaur (ca. 
1500). 

The pre-Mughal Muhammadan architecture of 
Gujarat, in the local Hindu and Jain style and con¬ 
struction, modified by the addition of domes and 
arches, is deservedly famous for its delicate and rich 
ornamentation, The chief monuments are Hilal 
Khan Kazi’s mosque at Dholka (1333 a.d.), the 
2x6 . 



EARLY MUSULMAN ARCHITECTURE 

mosque at Mirzapur, and the following buildings at 
Ahmadabad: the Jam’i Masjid (begun 1426), the 
mosque of Mahafiz Khan (late 15th century), Rani 
Slpari’s mosque and tomb (1514), the Triple Gate¬ 
way, and the mosque of Sidi Sayyid, renowned for 
the delicate tracery of its three stone windows. All 
these are in a purely Indian style; but the mosque 
and tomb of Nawab Sardar Khan (1680) is practic¬ 
ally Persian. At Sarkhej, six miles from Ahmada¬ 
bad, is found another important group of mosques 
and tombs. The wells, reservoirs, and sluices of 
Ahmadabad itself are as beautiful as the mosques. 

The most remarkable monument in the Deccan is 
the Gol Gumbaz (fig. 162), or tomb of Muhammad 
Aclil Shah (d, 1660). This is a square building with 
mlnars at the corners, and covered with a magnifi¬ 
cent dome, the second largest in the world. This 
dome is a marvel of engineering skill; its internal 
height is 178 feet, and its weight is ingeniously bal¬ 
anced by a system of intersecting pendentives, eleg¬ 
antly avoiding the need for the great masses of 
external masonry which appear in most European 
buildings of the same type. The tomb is further 
remarkable for its boldly projecting cornice, extend¬ 
ing 12 feet from the wall at a height of 83 feet from 
the ground. The builders of Bljapur were equally 
217 



\ SfciStfflifc 'ism 





MUGHAL ARCHITECTURE 

dian, at home in his own land. His palace (called the 
Jahangir! Mahall) in the Agra fort is quite of an In¬ 
dian type; but the great monument of his time is the 
city of Fathpur-SikrI, built during the fifteen years 
succeeding 1569, and deserted after its founder’s 
death. The whole city bears the stamp .of Akbar’s 
extraordinary genius; as Abul Fazl well said, “His 
Majesty plans splendid edifices, and dresses the work 
of his mind and heart in the garments of stone and 
clay.” 

The chief buildings of Fathpur-SikrI are the great 
Mosque, with its immense southern gateway called 
the Bulancl Darwaza, or Lofty Gate (fig. 163), and 
within the enclosed court, more than 300 feet square, 
the marble tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti (fig. 160), 
with its fairy-like tracery windows, and the marvel¬ 
lous pearl and ebony mosaic of the tomb and canopy 
within. Scarcely less beautiful are the palaces of the 
queens, and Akbar’s hall of private audience (fig. 
165), remarkable for its red sandstone throne, con¬ 
sisting of a great flower-like bracket supported on 
a single pillar and accessible by galleries above. 

Other great works of Akbar’s reign are the palace 
at Allahabad (now greatly injured and more or less 
inaccessible within the fort), and Akbar’s tomb at 
Sikandra. Concerning this last, a square many-stori- 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

ed building on a raised platform in the centre of a 
garden, Fergusson makestheinteresting suggestion 
that it was desig ned on the plan of some then exist¬ 
ing Buddhist vihara , and he compares its appear¬ 
ance to that of some of the rat has at Mamallapuram. 
The Ranch. Mahall at Fathpur-Slkri shows a like 
survival of old Indian design. 

Jahangir (1605-1628) was not a great builder, 
like his father and son. His chief work is the palace 
at Lahore, which in Akbar’s reign had already been 
the capital for fourteen years. To him is also due the 
tomb of Anarkall at Lahore, the Shalimar gardens in 
Kashmir, and the eastern capital (in brick)at Dacca. 
The most beautiful work of this period, however, 
is the Itimadu-d-daulah (fig. 164), erected by Nur 
Jahan, Jahangir’s wise and beautiful queen, in mem¬ 
ory of her father. It is, like the tomb of the Sheikh 
at Fathpur, wholly in white marble, and covered 
throughout with inlaid mosaicof coloured stones,the 
chief decorative motifs being the cypress, Persian 
water vessels, and flowers. This tomb exhibits a 
transition from the almost Hindu style of Akbar, to 
the more Persian style of Shah Jahan. A Hindu 
character is still apparent in the roof of the pavilion, 
which in any morepurely Saracenictomb would have 
been a dome. 


320 



MUGHAL ARCHITECTURE 

To the reign of Shah jahan belong the Palace at 
Delhi, the Pearl Mosqueat Agra, and the well-known 
Taj Mahall. The last building, one of the most fam¬ 
ous and most beautiful in the world, was built by Shah 
jahan during the years 1632—1647, as a tomb and 
monument for his wife Arjumand Banu Begam, call¬ 
ed Mumtaz Mahall (whence by corruption,Taj Mah¬ 
all), for twenty years his inseparable companion, and 
the mother of fourteen of his children, as renowned 
for her charity as for her beauty. The building, like 
all living architecture, is due to the co-operation of 
many craftsmen. There has been much controversy 
as to the chief or original designer, whether an Italian 
or a Turk. The matter is of comparatively little im¬ 
portance, as the design is admittedly quite Asiatic, 
and. evidences of Italian influence, even in the decora¬ 
tion, if any, are quite insignificant. It is more note¬ 
worthy that the form of the dome is characteristic¬ 
ally Indian, the lineal descendant of older Dravid- 
ian and Buddhist types, while the ground plan is that 
of the old Hindu panch-ratna —one central dome 
with four smaller cupolas. Mr Havell utters no para¬ 
dox -when he says that the science of Muhammadan 
art in India, as well as the inspiration of it, came from 
che Hindu Shilpashastras. 

The Taj Mahall has not the masculine force of the 
221 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
Agra fort; it was meant to bp feminine. As Mr E. B. 
Havell writes : “ the whole conception, and every 
line and detail of it, express the intention of the de¬ 
signers. It is Mumtaz Mahall herself, radiant in her 
youthful beauty, who still lingers on the banks of the 
shiningjamna, at early morn,in the glowing mid-day 
sun, or in the silver moonlight.” 

The pavilions of white marble, built along the em¬ 
bankment of the lake at Ajmer, are of an exquisite 
and fairy-like beauty: a fitting placeforthe entertain¬ 
ment of the lovers who lie together in the Taj. Nor 
could any thing exceed thedelicate purity of the white 
Pearl Mosque within the Agra fort, or the magnifi¬ 
cence of the buildings which Shah Jahan added to 
those of Akbar and Jahangir. The palace in the fort 
at Delhi has been sadly injured in the course of ad¬ 
aptations to the requirements of a modern military 
barrack. 

Architecture, like every other art, declined dur¬ 
ing the long reign of Aurangzeb; yet many fine 
buildings, though less important than those already 
spoken of, were still erected. He was more concern¬ 
ed to do away with Hindu temples, than to raise up 
buildings of his own. The tall mmars of the river¬ 
side mosque at Benares, however, are architectur¬ 
ally some compensation for the intolerant vandal- 
222 



MUGHAL ARCHITECTURE 

ism, the spirit of which was one cause of the down¬ 
fall of the Mughal empire in India. After Aurang- 
zeb, the decadence of all considerable architecture 
was very rapid; as Mr Vincent Smith truly remarks, 
the shoddy buildings of the Nawabs of Oudh are 
pretentious abominations. Yet there survived, and 
still survives in places such as Mathura and Delhi, 
an eclectic domestic and minor civil style of build¬ 
ing of great charm and vitality. It is, however, in 
more remote centres—in Rajputana, Orissa, and the 
south, that is to say, outside the main Mughal area, 
that fine building traditions have been best preserv¬ 
ed : for the Mughal building, however splendid, and 
although it made large use of existing technique, 
was an artificial growth, dependent on personal pa¬ 
tronage, and not, like the Hindu art, a direct 
product of local conditions. 





CHAPTER ELEVEN 


MUGHAL PAINTING & CALLIGRAPHY 





CHAPTER ELEVENTH 

MUGHAL PAINTING & CALLIGRAPHY 
MUGHAL PAINTING CONSISTS AL- 
most entirely of book illustrations and portfolio 
pictures, usually called miniatures. The wall-paint¬ 
ing's, of which fragments survive at Fathpur-Sikri, 
are in the same style, and like enlarged miniatures. 
Mughal paintingis acourtlyandaristocratic art, real¬ 
istic and romantic, almost wholly secular, and quite 
remote fromfolk-sentiment. Itis profoundlyinterest- 
edin individual character, and the splendid ceremon¬ 
ial of court life. Its keynote,accordingly,is portraiture 
—not me old Asiatic conception of portraiture, the 
rendering of a type, but actual likeness, verisimili¬ 
tude. do it happens that we have a remarkablegallery 
of representations of all the great men of the Mughal 
times, treated with a quite convincing actuality. 

The old home of the Mughals or Tnnurias was 
in Turkestan, and it is from the schools of Bukhara 
and Samarqand that this interest in personality and 
character derives. It is by this way also that there 
enters into Indian Mughal, as into Persian minia¬ 
ture art, a strong Chinese element. The term Indo- 
Persian is only applicable to a part of the Mughal 
painting, and obscures its general character. Persia, 
of course, here means Afghanistan and Turkistan, 
rather than the south or west. Indo-Tlmuricl would 
227 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA 6? CEYLON 

be a better name. But the art, though eclectic, is no 
mere appendage of the foreign schools; it is quite as 
distinctive as the Mughal architecture, and, more¬ 
over, superior to any Persian art of the 17th century. 

Thehistory of Mughal artin India—entirely secu¬ 
lar and professional in character—covers little more 
than a period of two centuries,from the middle of the 
16th to the latter part of the 18th century. Its bril¬ 
liance depended entirely on court and individual 
patronage. The Tlmurias had always felt a great 
interest in art and natural beauty. “ It was the sea¬ 
son when the garden was in all its glory," writes 
Babur, for whom, in the midst of his adventurous 
life, gardening remained a ruling passion. This in¬ 
terest is reflected in the late 16th-century picture 
(fig. 166) in which he is represented actually super¬ 
intending the laying out of a garden. 

Next in importance to the Tlmurid element in 
Mughal painting is the indigenous Indian; at least 
three-quarters of the Mughal painters, who often 
signed their works, bear Hindu names, so that it 
is not surprising that Rajput elements are often re¬ 
cognisable in Mughal work. Fig. 178, for example, 
is Rajput in all fundamentals, particularly in phy¬ 
sical type, yet there is combined with this a certain 
romanticism and enhancement of the relief, a con- 
228 







MUGHAL PAINTINGS?CALLIGRAPHY 

sciousness of the picturesque, which clearly distin¬ 
guish it from such purely Rajput work as that of 
fig. 71. The same romantic interest is apparent in the 
rluntmg Deer by Night of fig. 177. There enters 
also into Mughal art a strong current of direct Eur¬ 
opean influence, sometimes reflected in very ill-ad¬ 
vised and unsuccessful attempts at rendering mod¬ 
elling and suggesting relief, more often and more 
successfully in atmospheric effects and architectur¬ 
al perspective. The beautiful night effects, and the 
equestrian portraiture, both of which are character¬ 
istic of Mughal, but unknown to Persian art, may be 
developments of suggestions borrowed from Europ¬ 
ean art, or perhaps from indigenous traditions de¬ 
veloped under the European influence. 

The earliest Indian works are strongly influenced 
by the school of Bihzad; examples are Nantch Party 
of Sultan Muhammad Tughlak, by Shapur of Khor- 
asan (1534 a.d., now at Calcutta), the Portrait of 
Sultan Ala-al-dm of Bengal (ca. 1532 a.d.), British 
Museum MS., Or. 1372 (fig. 168), and various pict¬ 
ures of the Birth of Jahangir, showing thecharacter- 
istic architecture of Akbar. It was the patronage 
of Akbar which prepared the way for the develop¬ 
ment of the characteristic Mughal art of the 17th 
century. His saying upon painting is well known: 

229 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
“There are many that hate painting, but such men 
I dislike. It appears to me as if a painter had quite 
peculiar means of recognising God;' for a painter in 
sketching anything that has life, and in devising its 
limbs one after the other, must come to feel that he 
cannot bestow individuality (a soul) upon his work, 
and is thus forced to think of God, the Giver of Life, 
and will thus increase his knowledge.” 

Akbar employed a large number of Hindu artists 
to copy the illuminated pictures in the Persian Shah 
Namaks&nd similar romantichistories;most of these 
illustrations are in a decadent Persian style of little 
sesthetic interest. Persian translations of such Indian 
books as the Yoga Vaskishtha, the Ramayana, and 
the Mahabharata , however, afforded to the Indian 
painters a better opportunity for invention, and a 
new style was thus gradually evolved. I n these works 
thelandscapestillremainshighlyartificial, but Indian 
sentiment predominates in subject-matter and com¬ 
position. Fig. 171, from a manuscript of the fables 
of Bidpai (Kalilah wa Dimnah , prepared for the 
last King of Golconda, and dated 1610 A.D. —Brit¬ 
ish Museum, Add. 18579), well illustrates the story¬ 
telling quality of these pictures; the buffalo and 
camel-rider are engaged in conversation regarding 
the behaviour of men to animals. 

230 




MUGHAL PAINTING< 2 ?CALLIGRAPHY 

Of Akbar’s time, also, are a number of larger oil- 
paintings on canvas (fig. 167): there is a good series 
of these at South Kensington, and one fine example 
has been lately acquired by the British Museum. 

The Mughal portrait style is scarcely clearly de¬ 
veloped before the time of Jahangir (1605 to 1627). 
At its best, it is an art of nobly serious realism and 
deep insight into character; at its worst, it is an art 
of mere flattery. Two works reproduced here, the 
Bodleian Dying Man (fig. 169) and the Ajmer por¬ 
trait 01 Jadrilp Yogi (fig. 170), stand out before all 
others in their passionate concentration. The secul¬ 
ar art here attains to a wisdom and insight not less 
moving than the deep love which inspires Hindu 
'works, it is with the very spirit of the words of the 
Upanishad—“ Recall, O mind, thy deeds, recall, re¬ 
call ”—that the dying man is oblivious of everything 
around and about him, forgetful even of his own 
emaciated body, while there rise up in his heart pic¬ 
tures of things long past and things to come; while 
the Yogi, seated by the door of his narrow rock-cut 
cell, naked of all possessions, embodies the thought 
of that deeper spiritual detachment that seeks to 
escape from time for ever. In both cases, not merely 
the character of each individual, but also his intim¬ 
ate relation to an habitual environment, are subtly 
231 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

expressed. This relativity is rarely studied in the 
more usual Mughal portraits, especially those of the 
Shah Jahan school, where the posing is frequently 
artificial and self-conscious. 

Such works as the Dying Man and Jadrup Yogi , 
when compared with the hieratic art, are so obvious¬ 
ly equally great, that we see at once that it is not the 
manner of painting—“abstract” or “realistic”— 
which constitutes greatness; it is the kind of feeling 
that finds expression, in whatever technique, that 
makes a work great or small. The same who painted 
Jadrup Yogi might have said less in attempting to 
portray Shiva. At the same time, it is obvious that 
his greatness is purely personal: if hieratic art more 
easily and more deeply affects us, it is because that art 
is something in which we all have a greater share. It 
is the difference between a folk-song and a German 
lied , or a 13th-century lyric and “ Modern Love. ” 

More frequent than these intense works are the 
Darbars, scenes of audience, crowded with minute 
portraits, and executed with the utmost splendour 
and brilliancy of detail; and the single portraits of 
emperors and courtiers. Portraits of women are 
naturally very rare, and less realistic. There are many 
fine portraits of animals, especially those by Mansur 
(.cf fig. 174, part of a darbar group). Of the portrait 
232 




M a GH AL P AINTING © CALLIGRAPHY 

groups, there are fine examples in all the important 
collections, c.g. the Darbars of Jahangir and of Shah 
jahan in the Bodleian MS., Ouseley, Add. 173; the 
-Farewell of Jahangir and Prince Khurram , by 
M anohar Singh, India Office, Johnston, Album 4; a 
Darbar of Shah Jahan, British Museum MS., Add. 
18S01; a picture by Samand in the collection of the 
Maharaja of Benares (part of which is shown in fig. 
176); Darbar of Jahangir , in the collection of Mr 
Victor Goloubeff; and the Surrender of Qa-ndahar 
(fig. 175) in the collection of Babu Sltaram Lai of 
Benares. Of single portraits, beside those in vari¬ 
ous private collections, the best series will be found 
in the British Museum MS., Add. 18801 (fig. 173). 
In most of the portraits the head is finished more 
carefully than any other part; it is rare to meet with 
suggestions of character in the body or hands. The 
fineness and realism of the drawing of the features 
and hair are almost incredible. 

In the time of Shah Jahan there is a tendency to 
greater suavity and flattery, while the genrepictures 
and night scenes and equestrian portraits and pic¬ 
tures of ladies become abundant. There are also 
some good architectural drawings. The landscape 
is no longer Persian, but shows Indian and Euro¬ 
pean influences (fig. 176). In the reign of Aurang- 
233 



ARTS G? CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
zeb (1658 to 1707) nothing was added to Mughal 
art, while in the 18th century only a very few works 
of high merit were produced ; the final decadence 
in Oudh is not less complete than that of the Mughal 
architecture. Mughal painting was never deeply 
rooted in the Indian soil, but rather a purely artifi¬ 
cial product of the court and the connoisseurs, a fact 
which fully accounts for its rapid decline. 

It is interesting to note that amongst the 17th- 
century pictures are quite a large number of Chris¬ 
tian subjects, more or less distant copies of Italian 
originals, as well as imitations of European engrav¬ 
ings and secular works of various kinds. On the 
other hand, we know that Rembrandt was much in¬ 
terested in, and made some copies from, the Indian 
representations of night scenes. Reynolds seems to 
have been the first English artist to admire the Mu¬ 
ghal paintings. From a later time, there exist copies 
of Mughal drawings made by Delacroix. Most of 
the important examples in English collections were 
brought back after the Mutiny. 

Amongstthe 17th-and 18th-centurypicturesthere 
are also many of Hindu subjects,usually night scenes. 
The Mughal interest in the picturesque, and thegen- 
eral tolerance up to the time of Aurangzeb, no doubt 
enabled them to take as much interest in the Hindu 
234 



MUGHAL PAINTING ©’CALLIGRAPHY 

as m the Christian subjects, while the former must 
also have appealed to the many Hindus present at 
the Mughal court, and to those in Rajputana as far 
as Mughal court fashions penetrated. 

While the Persians after the 13th century, and the 
Mughals in India, were not troubled overmuch by 
orthodox scruples forbidding the representation of 
living things, it resulted from the old Islamic Puri¬ 
tanism that their art became entirely secular. Relig¬ 
ious motifs from Islam are scarcely ever treated in 
Mughal art : though there are some beautiful pic¬ 
tures dealing with the subject-matter of the mysti¬ 
cal romances, the favourite story being that of the 
separated lovers Laila and Majnun. 



Theartofcalligraphy,orfair-writing, so longculti- 
vated by the Persians, was not less highly esteem- 
edatthe Mughal court. The emperors possessed im- 
portantlibrariesofearlierMSS. broughtfroml urlce- 
stan, which they constantly enlarged by the addition 
of contemporary work. The earlier Indo-Persian 
235 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA &■ CEYLON 

MSS. are sometimes of great magnificence, though 
scarcely equal to those of Bokharaand Samarqand in 
splendour and perfection of design. It is rather in 
the making of illuminated textsthatthe Mughal,calli¬ 
graphers excelled ; these brilliant pages are found 
with the portfolio pictures and albums, and were val¬ 
ued almost as highly, perhaps more highly, than the 
actual pictures. 

In this connection, it is important to note that 
Persian painting from its beginning in the 13th cen- 
turyhas always been more or less calligraphic; paint¬ 
ing and writing went hand in hand, with strong re¬ 
ciprocal influences. These conditions obtained also 
with the Mughals in India; they represent a well- 
marked distinction of Mughal painting, alike from 
the older art of fresco, and from the true Rajput art, 
its later descendant. Painting and writing amongst 
the Hindus were quite independent arts. It is scarce¬ 
ly ever that one meets with an illustrated Sanskrit 
or vernacular Hindu MS. ; while the distinction be¬ 
tween the monumental severity of the Deva-Nagari, 
and the flowing grace of the Persian script is very- 
obvious. 

In conclusion, it will be worth while to note the 
names of a few of the more important of the Mughal 
painters of the late 16th and earlier 17th centuries. 

236 



i V 








CHAPTER TWELVE 


OF THE MINOR MUGHAL ARTS 



CHAPTER TWELFTH 

OF THE MINOR MUGHAL ARTS 
TO DISTINGUISH ABSOLUTELY BET- 
ween Mughal and Hindu arts is naturally not always 
possible. Just as in architecture, so for example in 
weaving, design and tradition overlap and inter¬ 
penetrate. We shall only describe here, therefore, 
such arts as are most typically Mughal in design and 
application, without implying that any or all of them 
were unknown to India at an earlier period. 

Amongst the most characteristic of the Mughal 
crafts are those connected with the hard and semi¬ 
precious stones. Perhaps most exquisite of all are 
the cups and bowls of carved crystal, of which fine 
examples are illustrated in fig. 179. These cups, with 
those of green and white jade, some Persian glass 
and enamels, and some blue china, formed the table 
service of the Mughal aristocracy. The art of inlay¬ 
ing jade with precious stones, held fast by a gold 
bezel, was applied to huka bowls, sword handles, 
and jewellery. Such personal possessions as archers’ 
thumb-rings, huka mouthpieces,and rosaries are oft¬ 
en made of jade, carved or inlaid. Still better known 
is the application of stone-inlay on a larger scale to 
the decoration of buildings of the 17th century, es¬ 
pecially the Taj Mahall; it is applied also to marble 
pavements such as that of the baths in the palace at 
241 16 




ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
Delhi, and to minor objects such as carpet-weights. 
Seal engraving (also an old Hindu art) was exten¬ 
sively practised under the Mughals; jewels; particu¬ 
larly emerald, but also ruby, were delicately carved 
and engraved. 

Enamelling in the Mughal period had its centres 
at Jaipur, Delhi, and afterwards at Lucknow. The 
distinction between Rajput and Mughal enamelled 
jewellery is slight, as there was much Mughal influ¬ 
ence at Jaipur. The Lucknow enamelling is mostly 



Side of a Lucknow silver-enamel box. 


of the 18th century, and easily distinguished from 
that of Jaipur by its different range of colour, green, 
brown, and blue on a silver ground, in place of the 
deep red, green, and ivory-white of Jaipur, with but 
little metal visible. The huka bowl of fig. 188 is a 
fine example of Lucknow enamel, with well-drawn 
trees and birds and animals. There are also eleg¬ 
ant silver boxes decorated with peacocks or doves; 
sword furnitur &,pandans, and jewellery. Silver and 
niello boxes of excellent design were also made at 
Lucknowin the 18th century. There are some paint- 
242 





MINORJMUGHAL ARTS 

ed enamels in a Persian style. Some fair enamel in 
blue and white is made at Multan. 

Amongst the most important types of metal-work 
are the various kinds of bidrl damascening, applied 
to pitchers, basins, betel-boxes (pandans) (fig. 187), 
anci huka bowls. Bidrl is an old Hindu art, so called 
from Bidar, in the Deccan; it was extensively pat¬ 
ronised by the Mughals, so that it is now best known 
as a Musulman art, practised in Lucknow, though 
bidrl continued to be made by Hindus in Bengal 
(Purniab.) and in Bidar. 

Almost equally handsome are some of the brass 
huka bowls and pitchers (figs. 185, 186). It may be 
noted here that the round bowls (figs. 180, 181) be¬ 
long to the 17th century, those with a broad flat base 
(fig. 188)to the 18th. Some of the best Mughal metal 
work is found in the tinned copper ware of Kashmir 
(fig. 183); here the designs are engraved, and filled 
in with ablack composition before the'vessel is tinned; 
so that the design finally stands out in black, on a 
silver ground. Many of the Kashmir vessels are of 
admirable form and design, and handsomely en¬ 
graved with inscriptions. 

The architectural use of coloured tiles was known 
in early times (Anuradhapura, Peshawar, etc.); but 
its extensive use under the Mughals is certainly a 

243 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
result of external influences. The palace of Man 
Singh at Gwaliar, however, was once profusely de¬ 
corated with glazed tiles of purely Hindu design. 
Most of the true Mughal tiling is of the kind call¬ 
ed kashi or chini, made of separate pieces laid as 
a mosaic. The Chlm-ka-Rauzah, a poet’s tomb at 
Agra, though much damaged, retains enough of its 
enamelled covering to show what splendour this 
form of decoration attained. In the same technique 
is the brilliant tiled wall in the Lahore fort 500 yards 
in length and 16 high, “ the most remarkable series 
of tile pictures in the world.” These, with the mosque 
of Wazlr Khan and other works at Lahore decor¬ 
ated in the same manner, all belong to the second 
quarter of the 17th century. This mosaic tile-work 
was preceded in the 16th and early 17 th centuries by 
the beautiful square tilesof Lahore made of earthen¬ 
ware painted in enamel with designs of animals and 
flowers (fig. 189). After the 17th century, again, the 
mosaic style was replaced by an inferior imitation of 
the enamelled work. Thetile-work of the Sind, and 
especially Multan, is characterised by its extensive 
use of white and blue; the industry goes back to the 
13th century, but little is now done except the de¬ 
coration of ornamental vases. 

The ivory carving of Delhi is quite a modern 
244 




ARTS S 3 CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
lipatam and Haiderabad. The latter half of the 19th 
century marked the complete decadence of Indian 
carpet-weaving, due to two causes—the Western 
trade demand for cheapness, and the manufacture 
of inferiorsorts in gaols. Of lateyears there hasbeen 
a revival of good work at Amritsar and Agra and in 
several gaols. Woollen-pile carpets wouldbeuncom- 
fortably warm at all seasons in Central and South¬ 
ern India; a far more agreeable floor-covering is af¬ 
forded by the smooth cotton daris without pile. 

Cotton-printing is an art common to the Persian 
and Hindu cultures. The Persian influence is clear 
in the work of Lahore, Lucknow, and many other 
places in the north, though in most parts of Raj- 
putana there survive distinctively Hindu traditions. 
Amongst the finest works in which there is a com¬ 
bination of block-printing and dye-painting are the 
palampores of Masulipatam, where a small manu¬ 
facture still survives, with an export trade to Persia. 
It would be difficult to exaggerate the beauty of the 
Masulipatam designs, or to praise too highly their 
rich glowing colour; some of the best are still made, 
uncontaminated by chemical dyes. The Persian 
influence is here strong; but there are other types 
of southern cotton-printing in which Hindu motifs 
alone appear ; this applies to most of the printed 
246 




MINOR MUGHAL ARTS 

s arls or dress-pieces, as well as to the temple ceil¬ 
ing cloths. Close relations exist between the designs 
of the painted or printed cottons, and those of paint¬ 
ed ceilings. 

Thefirst knowledge of silk is Chinese, and though 
it has been known in India since the early days of 
Chinese trade with the West, certainly since the 
4th century b.c., the greater part of the splendid 
silken fabrics of Northern India are strongly in¬ 
fluenced by Persian design. Thus, the famous kim- 
lihwcl-o silk-brocade weavers of Benares are Musul- 
n5 ts auc aace their origin to immigration in the 
u> e o> Mahmud of Ghazni, in the 10th century; ac¬ 
cording to their own story, they introduced the use 
of goldthread, and before that time the Hindus wove 
only plain cloth. In any case, the use of gold thread 
—thin flat gold strips of pure gold or silver gilt 
twisted round a silk core, as distinct from solid gold 
wire—does not date further back than the i ith cent¬ 
ury. The usual types of design are those peculiarly 
beautiful repeating patterns of addorsed or affront¬ 
ed creatures, with the tree of life, the diapers, and 
floral sprays, which we are familiar with in the 
Sicilian and Old Italian brocades, all based on Ori¬ 
ental patterns which preserve Old Assyrian designs 
(figs, 192-4). The colour and texture of the Indian 
247 




All work in leather is in the hands of Musulmans 
or the lowest castes of Hindus, since it is for Hindus 
an unclean material. Orthodox Brahmans, for in¬ 


stance, prefer wooden to leather sandals; but the 
latter are made in all parts of India. A good plain 
type is that of Kashmir, where leather socks and 
strapwork sandals are largely worn. Embroidered 
and dyed shoes of excellent design are still made 
in Delhi, Lucknow, and Amritsar. Fine leather 









MINOR MUGHAL ARTS 
water-vessels are made in Bikaner, and decorated 
with gesso, coloured; leather bottles for oil are used 
by Hindus. A familiar sight in India is the Musul- 
rnan water-carrier, who waters streets and gardens 
irom a vessel made from a whole skin of a sheep. 
Many parts ofRajputana, the Panjab, and Kashmir, 
produce fine embroidered saddlery and trappings. 
The embroidered deer-skin sheets of Haiderabad 
m m d tl c Udaipur belts are even more charac- 
i c I L may be noted that an exception to the 
T n l i i uidance of leather is seen in the case of 
o ' hose traditional seat or rug is a deer-skin; 
- i l Ch i a himself, as the Great Yogi, is often repre- 
Hat -'lodied in the skins of animals. 

1 ne best known Musulman embroideries are those 
oi Delhi, Agra, and Benares in gold and silver wire 
and silk. These are often executed on heavy mater¬ 
ials such as velvets, or satins lined with cotton, and 
usedfor coats, collars, and other sumptuarypurposes. 
Such work is often overloaded, especially when gold 
spangles are freely used. Far more refined are the 
white quilted coats of Baluchistan and Chitral, the 
soznisoi Peshawar (and Bokhara),and theless known 
but fine domestic kasida embroidery in iasar silk on 
cotton, of Bengal and Western India; the latter craft, 
like many other Musulman domestic textile crafts of 
249 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 
embroidery and plaiting in the West, shows clear 
Arabian influences. Good white embroidery of the 
chikan type is sometimes seen on the burqas or huge 
enveloping veils worn by orthodox Musulman ladies 
(Bhopal, etc.) when they go abroad. 

But of all Indian textiles, none excel in beauty of 
colour, texture, and design, the famous Kashmir 
shawls. Space will allow no more than a mention 
of the plain blankets, serges, and felts of Bikaner and 
Kangra, Amritsar, and other places in the Panjab. 
All the finest work has come from Kashmir, and 
takes the forms of shawls and coats (chogas ); some 
of these are woven, some embroidered, the result 
being often indistinguishable without close inspec¬ 
tion or an examination of the reverse side of the 
stuff. The woven shawls are all of patchwork con¬ 
struction, though the joins are so fine as to be in¬ 
visible, and the thickness of the stuff" is not affected 
at the join. Such shawls are made of long strips or 
ribbons woven as fine tapestry on small looms, and 
afterwards joined along their length: but many of 
the best shawls are partly woven and partly embroid¬ 
ered. The finest work appears more like painting 
than tapestry; and the most costly may be worth as 
much as or more than a thousand pounds. The usual 
motif of the decoration of the woven shawls is the 
250 



W’StV.^W 







MINOR MUGHAL ARTS 

well-known cone or “shawl pattern” (figs. 191,195), 
derived, almost certainly, from the Persian wind¬ 
blown cypress. An embroidered scarf, illustrating 
the story “Shinn-Farhad,” is illustrated in fig. 190. 
Since the Kashmir famine of 1833 a large part of 
the industry has been located in the Panjab. No 
work of any importance is clone now; in fact, no 
part of India produces more banal and meaningless 
embroidery than present-day Kashmir, where the 
tradesman’s chief pride is taken in realistic green 
c/ienar le&ves executed in floss silk on cotton for sale 
to tourists. 

A Kashmir craft which is less degenerate, though 
very little fine work is still made, is that of painted 
papier-mache. Sheets of paper are pasted on to 
moulds of the required form, and painted and varn¬ 
ished; the older examples were so well made'as to 
hold even hot liquids. Most of the present-day work 
is really painted wood. 

The fashions of Muhammadan costume in India 
before the Mughals were more or less purely Persian. 
The Mughals, however, at least from Akbar to Shah 
jahan, were thoroughly Indian in their tastes; and 
their costume, both of men and women, was taken 
over almost completely from the Rajputs, as the pic¬ 
tures clearly testify. Thus the Mughal turbans differ 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA & CEYLON 

from the contemporary Bokhara types in not having 
the loose fringed ends sticking out on both sides; 
they are smaller and neater. The Indian coat fasten¬ 
ing at the side, as in China, is quite different from the 
long Persian gown that buttons all down the centre 
and fits closely to the form; the Indian coats also de¬ 
velop large and full skirts. The skirt, bodice.and veil 
of Rajput ladies prevailed in the Mughal zenanas of 
the i yth century, but with constant change 
of fashion in respect of details.,'..,. 




CHIEF PUBLICATIONS ON THE 
SUBJECT OF THIS VOLUME 



CHIEF PUBLICATIONS ON THE 
SUBJECT OF THIS VOLUME 

Archteological Survey of Ceylon, Reports of. 

Archieological Survey of India., Reports of. 

Baden-Powell, Panjab Products, 186s. 
t Bey lie. L Architecture Hindoue en Extreme-Orient, 1907. 
Bhagavad Gita, The (trans. Barnett or Besant). 

BhignU Pm uia. The. 

Brnowoon, The Industrial Arts of India, 3 880. 

Burgess, Ancient Monuments of India, 1897. 

Burgess, The Buddhist Stupas of Amaravatl and Jaggayapeta, 
1887. 

Gave, Ihe Book of Ceylon (1908). 

Cave, Ihe Buried Cities of Ce3don. 

CooiiARAswAMY, Indian Drawings, 2 vols., 1910-1912. 
Coomaraswamv, Medieval Sinhalese Art, 1908. 
Coomaraswamy, Selected Examples of Indian Art, 1910. 
Coomaraswamy, The Indian Craftsman, 1909. 

Cm \i'ic,iiAti, Bharliut, 1879- . . 

Cunningham, Mababodhi, 1892. .■ 

Egerton, Handbook of Indian Jfms, 

Fergusson, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, 

2nd ed., 1910. ■ - . ' 

Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship. ■ „ $ 

Fonseka, On the Truth of Decorative Art. „/ 

Foucher, Iconographie Bouddhique, 2 vols., 1900-1905," 
Foucher, L’art greco-bouddhique de Gandhara, J905. ' /:■ 
Ganguly, Orissa and her Remains, 1912. ' * '» ' 

Griffiths, The Paintings . . . of Ajanta, 1896. 

Growse, Matthura, ed. 3, 1883. 

Grunyvedel and Burgess, Buddhist Art in India, 1901. 
Havell, Indian Architecture, 1913. 

Havell, Indian Sculpture and Painting, 190S. 

Havell, The Ideals of Indian Art, 1911. 

ITendley, Handbook to the Jaipur Museum. 

Hendley, Memorials of the Jaipur Exhibition. 

255 



ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA CEYLON 

Indian Art, The Journal of. 

Langer, Dokumenter der Indischen Kunst,' 1913. 

Le Bon, Les Monuments de l’lnde, 1893. 

Mahabharata, The (trans. P. C. Ray). 

Mahavamsa, The. 

Maindron, L’Art Indien, 1898. 

Maisey, Sanchi and its Remains, 1892. 

Martin, The Miniature Painters of Persia, India, and Turkey, 
1913. 

Mookerji, Indian Shipping, 1912. 

Nivedita and Coomaraswamy, Myths c. the Hindus and 
Buddhists, 1913. 

Okakura Kakuzo, Ideals of the East, 2nd ed., 1904. 

Parker, Ancient Ceylon, 1909. 

Pleyte, Indonesian Art. 

Ramayana, The (trans. M. N. Dutt). 

Ram Raz, Architecture of the Hindus, 1834. 

Ray, History of Hindu Chemistry, vol. 1, 2nd ed., 1907; vol. 2. 
1909- 

Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, 1903. 

Sewell, A Forgotten Empire (Vijayanagar), 1900 . 

Simpson, Origin and Mutation in Indian . . . Architecture, 

T. R.I.B.A., 1891. 

Smither, Architectural Remains, Amuradhapura, 1894. 
Vincent Smith, Early History of India, 2nd ed., 1908. 
Vincent Smith, History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon, 1911. 
Watt, Indian Art at Delhi, 1904. 

Workman, Through Town and Jungle. 

Articles in the following Journals:— Burlington Magazine; 
Ostasiatische Zeitschrift; Orientalische Archiv; Journal of the 
Royal Asiatic Society, London, and local branches; Indian Anti¬ 
quary; Journal of the Royal Society of Arts; Asiatic Quarterly 
Review; Visvakarma; Ars Asiatica. 

Publications of the India Society, London; Publications of the 
Colombo and Lahore Museums. j